Customs and Border Protection announced it is investigating a secret Facebook group of Border Patrol agents revealed earlier this week by ProPublica.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees,” Matthew Klein, head of CBP’s internal affairs unit, told ProPublica, adding that the agency “immediately informed” the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and began an investigation.
The group, called “I’m 10-15,” boasted about 9,500 members who are current or former CBP agents.
The messages included posts mocking migrants who died trying to cross the border as well as offensive illustrations like one of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being sexually assaulted by President Trump.
“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said in a statement. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”
The union representing CBP employees issued a statement claiming the 9,500-member group is “not representative of our employees and does a great disservice to all Border Patrol agents, the overwhelming majority of whom perform their duties admirably.”
CBP whistleblowers say the group has been around for years:
“The problems with the 10-15 page have been going on for years,” a CBP agent told ProPublica. “No one has done anything about it.”
The agent said that during the 2016 campaign, members attacked an openly gay agent who expressed support for Hillary Clinton.
“Nobody seemed to care,” the agent said.
The agents in the group seemed to predict trouble ahead.
“A bunch of people gonna regret comments they write on 10-15 if it shows up in court,” one post said.
“You understand this page is full of Agents, right?” another member replied, suggesting that the agents would not expose one of their own.
AOC: How can CBP be trusted?
Ocasio-Cortez, who was among the lawmakers targeted by the group, responded to the report on Twitter.
“9,500 CBP officers sharing memes about dead migrants and discussing violence and sexual misconduct towards members of Congress,” she wrote. “How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?”
“There are 20,000 TOTAL Customs & Border Patrol agents in the US. 9,500 - almost HALF that number - are in a racist & sexually violent secret CBP Facebook group” she wrote, although some of the members of the group are not active duty CBP employees. “They’re threatening violence on members of Congress. How do you think they’re treating caged children+families?”
Ocasio-Cortez was among a group of lawmakers who visited CBP facilities in Texas Monday.
“Just left the 1st CBP facility. I see why CBP officers were being so physically &sexually threatening towards me,” she wrote. “Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.”
“Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities. It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress,” she said. “I brought it up to their superiors. They said ‘officers are under stress & act out sometimes.’ No accountability.”