The Department of Homeland Security is investigating a report that current and former U.S. Border Patrol agents are part of a Facebook group posting racist, sexist, and violent posts about migrants and Hispanic lawmakers.
The ProPublica investigative site says the posts include sexually explicit images and remarks mocking migrant deaths, including the highly publicized death of a Salvadoran man and his 2-year-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande river.
The Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15,” the Border Patrol’s code for “Aliens in Custody.”
ProPublica says the agents reacted to the death of a 16-year-old boy who died in Border Patrol custody by saying: “Oh, well. If he dies, he dies.”
They accused Democrats and liberals of possibly faking the photograph of the man and his daughter lying face down in the river, saying they have never seen “floaters” look so “clean.”
Other alleged remarks included plans to throw burritos at Hispanic members of Congress and describing female members in sexist profane language.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a favorite target of the group. One doctored photograph shows her performing a sexual act on U.S. President Donald Trump.
“How on Earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says the comments by the agents are “completely unacceptable” and is demanding answers.
Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy says they are “disgusting” and says guilty agents should be fired.
Border Patrol chief Carla Provost says the Facebook posts are “completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see and expect from our agents day in and day out.”
She said any employees found to be a part of the group will be held accountable.
The union representing the agents has also condemned the posts and say they do a “great disservice” to the overwhelming majority of employees who do their jobs with honor.
According to the Customs and Border Protection agency, employees are forbidden from making “abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements, gestures” or displays of hatred based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
When asked about the report Monday, President Donald Trump said Border Patrol personnel are “patriots” and “great people.”
“I don’t know what they’re saying about members of Congress. I know that the Border Patrol is not happy with the Democrats in Congress,” he said. “I will say the Republicans do want border security.”
Ocasio-Cortez was part of a delegation of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who visited two border patrol stations along the U.S.-Mexico border where migrants are being held in what lawyers have reported as squalid conditions.
She described what she saw as “horrifying.”
“It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Joaquin Castro said many of the migrants they spoke to reported not having bathed for 15 days, while some said they had been held for 50 days and some said they were separated from their children.
“They asked us to take down their names and let everyone know they need help. They also feared retribution,” Castro wrote on Twitter. “All Americans must help to change this system.”