CBP Agents Flocked To Closed Facebook Groups To Post Bigoted Memes And Insult Detainees
from the probably-still-flocking,-just-switching-URLs dept
In news that will surprise no one, Customs and Border Protection — like many other law enforcement agencies — is shot through with bigots and sadists. ProPublica was sent screenshots from a closed Facebook group composed of Border Patrol agents. The “10-15 Group,” named for the Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody,” entertained itself by posting offensive memes and generally treating the people they interact with most as subhuman, at best.
Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.
In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody 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.”
If there’s anyone out there that still believes law enforcement agencies are filled with the best kind of people, I’m sorry you’ve had your illusions shattered so late in life. There’s nothing about these jobs that draws the best people. Turnover is a constant problem so we’re left with the kind of people that enjoy the thought of capturing and incarcerating other human beings. This closed group is just a digital manifestation of the ugliness lying below the surface of the CBP.
This shouldn’t surprise you. It sure as fuck didn’t surprise CBP management.
Customs and Border Protection officials have been aware for up to three years that a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents was posting offensive messages — far longer than previously reported.
Border Patrol leadership knew about photos posted to the group as far back as 2016, when agents reported them, according to a current Homeland Security official.
According to this Politico report, not a single agent was ever punished or reprimanded for their comments and posts in this closed group. Sure, they’re being denounced now by top Homeland Security officials, but it’s years too late. CBP supervisors had an opportunity to pass this up the ladder three years ago but did nothing. Springing into action when there are no options left is no one’s idea of heroic. There’s no excusing the CBP’s refusal to act when it was first notified. There’s finally an Inspector General’s investigation underway, but it will be months or years before we see results from this, if ever.
The CBP continues to stand by its personnel, saying most of its staff are good people not prone to posting bigoted content to closed Facebook groups. This is a pretty safe stance to take when no one’s outing the members of the 10-15 Group. But that stance has already passed its expiration date. The Intercept infiltrated the group and managed to make off with tons of screenshots before posts were deleted by members and moderators following the ProPublica article.
Not only is The Intercept publishing the screenshots it grabbed, it’s publishing them with the names of CBP agents on full display. Good. Speech has consequences and DC politicians have been promising retribution. With names out in the open, the Congressional bluff has been called. Put up or shut up, reps. And I’m sure the CBP Inspector General appreciates any input it can get, even if it has to come from outside sources.
At least one other social media group with an apparent nexus to Customs and Border Protection has been discovered to contain vulgar and sexually explicit posts, according to screenshots shared by two sources familiar with the Facebook pages.
The secret Facebook group, “The Real CBP Nation,” which has around 1,000 members, is host to an image that mocks separating migrant families, multiple demeaning memes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and other derisive images of Asians and African Americans.
According to posts seen by CNN, members of this closed group expressed their disappointment at the exposure and semi-shuttering of the 10-15 Group. Some members also called those bailing on the now-toxic group “cowards,” as if distancing yourself from a sinking ship filled with burning shit wasn’t the CBP way.
And, once again, there’s evidence CBP officials were well aware of these groups and the content they posted.
In 2018, a senior official warned all agency employees of potential discipline, after having been informed of a private Facebook group with inappropriate and offensive posts, according to a memo obtained by CNN.
“Recently the Agency was made aware of a private Facebook group page that only a specific group of CBP employee could access, on which inappropriate and offensive posts were made,” Klein wrote.
Either no one got the memo or memos simply don’t work. Top DHS and CBP officials will likely pretend this represents a small portion of the CBP workforce — the worst of the worst. But it doesn’t. It represents a cross-section of its workforce. Some have no qualms posting bigoted memes to Facebook. For other employees, having a job that caters to their biases and prejudices is its own reward.