U.S. Customs and Border Protection says an investigation has been launched after a report claimed a Facebook group for border guards featured racist and sexist comments.
ProPublica published a report Monday about a secret group, said to be for border agents and past guards, that has 9,500 members.
According to the article, the group’s posts included vile jokes about hurling burritos at Latino Congress members, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performing oral sex at a migrant detention centre.
The report also referenced comments making light of the deaths of migrants.
Global News has not verified the contents of the report, which the outlet said was based on screenshots of recent posts.
ProPublica said it was able to connect the posts to “apparently legitimate Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents.” The group is called “I’m 10-15,” which, according to the outlet, is the agency’s code for “aliens in custody.”
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Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner of the U.S. Office of Professional Responsibility, said in a statement Monday that an investigation was launched immediately after CBP was made aware of “disturbing” activity on Facebook that “may include a number of CBP employees.”
He said the CBP’s code of conduct prohibits employees from hateful or discriminatory conduct, including comments on social media.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost added that the posts are “completely inappropriate and contrary to the honour and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out.”
Provost said that any employees found to have violated standards will be “held accountable,” but did not say what disciplinary action would be taken.
Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the report on Twitter.
“They’re threatening violence on members of Congress,” she said. “How do you think they’re treating caged children + families?”
The report comes amid an international outcry over the conditions for migrants, including children, being held in U.S. custody along the southern border.
Reports citing testimony from detained minors say they are being housed in overcrowded, frigid quarters with harsh lights. One teen said she had access to a toothbrush and a shower only every five days.
Migrant families have been coming over the U.S. southern border in unprecedented numbers in recent months, reaching a peak in May, when 84,000 adults and children travelling together were apprehended.
With files from the Associated Press