U.S. Customs and Border Protection
ProPublica has reported on
a secret Facebook page for current and former U.S. Border Patrol agents that includes posts joking about the deaths of migrants and sexist memes of Latina lawmakers.
The three-year-old “I’m 10-15” Facebook group has roughly 9,500 members from across the country, according to the report by ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization. “10-15” is Border Patrol code meaning “aliens in custody.”
ProPublica received screen captures of recent discussions in the group and was able to link the participants to what appeared to be Facebook profiles of Border Patrol agents, including an El Paso-based supervisor and an Eagle Pass-based agent, according to its report.
Among the posts described by ProPublica:
- Jokes and callous comments posted on a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died at a Texas Border Patrol station in May. One post included a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.”
- A faked photo of Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez appearing to show President Trump forcing her face into his crotch, with the comment, “That’s right bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won.”
- A photo of the migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned last month in the Rio Grande River accompanied by mocking comments. One poster speculated the image had been faked. "I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS," the post said.
In a statement, Customs and Border Patrol said it had been made aware of "disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group" and that it requested the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General open an investigation.
San Antonio's Joaquin Castro, who heads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told ProPublica the agents who posted the comments “don’t deserve to wear any uniform representing the United States of America.”
The ProPublica report is the latest of several highlighting the use of social media space by law enforcement officers to engage in inflammatory and offensive rhetoric. A Reveal investigation
turned up evidence of active-duty and retired law-enforcement officers posting in white-supremacist and hate-group forums. Separately, the Plain View Project released a database
of hateful Facebook posts from current and former law-enforcement officials.
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