Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan vowed today to investigate a private Facebook group for Border Patrol employees that discussed throwing burritos at Latina lawmakers and depicted one female member of Congress in vulgar illustrations.
His tweets come two days after Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner in CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said that “CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation” in regard to “disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees.”
“Reporting this week highlighted disturbing & inexcusable social media activity that allegedly includes active Border Patrol personnel. These statements are completely unacceptable, especially if made by those sworn to uphold the @DHSgov mission, our values & standards of conduct,” McAleenan tweeted.
“I have directed an immediate investigation, and as the @USBPChief has made clear, any employee found to have compromised the public’s trust in our law enforcement mission will be held accountable,” he added. “They do not represent the men and women of the Border Patrol or @DHSgov.”
Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said Monday that “these posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out.”
“Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable,” she added.
ProPublica said the group “I’m 10-15” was created in August 2016 and has about 9,500 members; it’s unclear how many of those are currently employed with CBP and how many may be former or retired members, or otherwise were invited to join the group. Reporters received screenshots of conversations within the group, including one about a 16-year-old detained Guatemalan migrant who died in May 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,’” said the report.
Regarding today’s visit by Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Veronica Escobar (Texas) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), to view a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, “One member encouraged Border Patrol agents to hurl a ‘burrito at these bitches.’ Another, apparently a patrol supervisor, wrote, ‘Fuck the hoes.’ ‘There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets,’ posted a third member.”
One photo illustration posted in the Facebook group depicted Ocasio-Cortez engaging in oral sex with an illegal migrant, and “another is a photo illustration of a smiling President Donald Trump forcing Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch.
ProPublica reported Tuesday that Facebook would not say whether the group’s posts had violated the social media site’s terms of service or have been removed.