Homeland Security Chair Rebukes Border Patrol Over Secret Facebook Group
WASHINGTON -The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee rebuked the Border Patrol Monday after a published report revealed the existence of a secret Facebook group in which border agents have posted lewd and derogatory content involving migrants and Democratic elected officials:
“This Facebook group is beyond sexist and racist – it is truly abhorrent and shameful, and there is no excuse for this depraved behavior,” Representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a written statement. “The agents found to be responsible for these vile comments should no longer have the privilege of representing the United States of America in uniform.”
The existence of the three-year-old Facebook group, which has roughly 9,500 members, was revealed Monday by ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigating abuses of power.
Among other things ProPublica found on the group’s site — called “I’m 10-15,” Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody” — were derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who planned to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”
Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to ProPublica’s screenshots of their postings.
In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas.
One member posted a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.”
Another responded with an image and the words “If he dies, he dies,” ProPublica said.
The group described itself, in an online introduction, as a forum for “funny” and “serious” discussion about work with the patrol.
“Remember you are never alone in this family,” the introduction said.
On Monday it was clear Representative Thompson saw nothing on the website a laughing matter.
“It is clear these Federal law enforcement officials seem empowered by President Trump and seem all too willing to take his anti-immigrant rhetoric to the next level when they think no one is watching,” the congressman said. “It is also clear that DHS, CBP, and the Border Patrol have serious and systemic problems that must be addressed immediately. The chaos within DHS needs to end and proper leadership needs to be put in place.”
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