ProPublica reported Monday that a disturbing secret Facebook page for current and former US Border Patrol agents includes xenophobic and sexist posts. Here’s what the investigative journalism organization found:
■The “I’m 10-15” Facebook group, created in August 2016, has roughly 9,500 members from across the country. “10-15” is Border Patrol radio code for “aliens in custody.” The group described itself in an online introduction as a place for “funny” and “serious” discussions about work with the agency.
■Several of the postings reviewed by ProPublica referred to a visit planned Monday by Latino members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NewYork, to a Texas detention facility. One “I’m 10-15” member urged agents to “throw a 10-15 burrito at one of these bitches.” Another wrote “[Expletive] the hoes,” and a third posted “There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets.”
■ProPublica also found sordid posts targeting Ocasio-Cortez, including a fake photo purporting to show President Trump forcing her head toward his crotch, with the comment, “That’s right bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won.” Another fake photo depiced her having oral sex with a detained migrant.
■One of the group’s members also made callous comments about a picture that broke hearts worldwide of a migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande River trying to get to the United States. The member said, “I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS,” and wondered if the photo was fake.
■The discovery of the Facebook page follows the disclosure of a number of disturbing and racist text messages sent by Border Patrol agents in Arizona. The texts were revealed in a court filing.
■ProPublica said it received images of several recent discussions and believed it had identified the participants but had been unable to reach them. US Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, said later Monday it was opening an investigation. Carla Provost, head of the Border Patrol, said that any employee who violated standards will be held accountable. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
■Joaquin Castro, head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told ProPublica the agents who made the ugly comments “don’t deserve to wear any uniform representing the United States of America.” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “9,500 CBP officers sharing memes about dead migrants and discussing violence and sexual misconduct towards members of Congress. How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?”
NEW: We got access to a secret, 9,500-member FB group where current and former Border Patrol @CPB agents make explicit and derogatory remarks and “jokes” about migrants, female lawmakers and more.— ProPublica (@propublica) July 1, 2019
Comments like this one are just scratching the surface. https://t.co/Q0MJecNuMw pic.twitter.com/rcjrS2ylQX
Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.