About 70 current or former U.S. Customs and Border Patrol employees are being investigated for participating in a secret Facebook group that mocked migrants and lawmakers, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
The majority are alleged to have participated in a group called “I’m 10-15,” which has about 9,500 members. Its Facebook page included a post questioned the authenticity of photos showing a dead migrant father and child on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another post about the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in Border Patrol custody in May elicited such responses as, “Oh well.”
A doctored image posted on the page showed President Donald Trump forcing the head of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., toward his crotch.
“Messages posted on a private page that are discriminatory or harassing are not protected and violate standards of conduct,” said Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The TV station reported that potential punishment could range from a written reprimand to firing. Klein said the investigation is not considered a criminal probe.
He said 80 other Border Patrol employees have been investigated for misconduct in their social media posts since 2016. He didn’t immediately have information on the outcome of those investigations.
Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost expressed her disdain for the posts.
“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Provost said in a statement at the time. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”