House Democrats demand accountability on CBP Facebook group messages

Credit: W.Scott McGill

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and 23 Representatives today sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin McAleenan seeking details to ensure Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents who posted racist, misogynist, and anti-immigrant messages and images in two Facebook groups will be held accountable.

They wrote:

“We are deeply disturbed by the recently revealed secret Facebook groups for current and retired U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents that posted racist, misogynist, and xenophobic content. Posts in the Facebook groups mocked dead migrants and joked about separating families—a shameful moment for our country—and used vile and degrading language and images about immigrants and female Members of Congress alike. Such messages are utterly incompatible with the mission of CBP, display a callous indifference toward the livelihood of immigrants, and foster a dehumanizing culture which makes human rights abuses more likely.

“While CBP has issued public statements condemning the inappropriate social media posts and referenced that employees will be held accountable, we have seen insufficient details about what steps the agency plans to take to do so. A lack of effective response enables bad-acting employees and contributes to a broader culture of dehumanizing migrants and a lack of understanding of CBP’s role as a humanitarian steward. And, concerningly, we understand now that CBP has known about the secret group named “I’m 10-15” for up to three years, and that Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost was a member, as well as three current chief patrol agents, Matthew Hudak, Rodney Scott, and Jason Owens. In addition to offensive content, photos of documents and government IDs of individuals were circulated in at least one group.”

The Members went on to ask questions about what specific steps CBP is taking to discipline agents and clean up its culture, requesting a prompt reply with details by August 17.

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