U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement Monday in regard to the news of a secret Facebook group for agents that included offensive material. The statement attributed to Matthew Klein, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Professional Responsibility reads:
“Today, CBP was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees. CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation. CBP employees are expected to adhere to CBP’s Standards of Conduct, Directive No. 51735-013A both on and off duty, which states, “Employees will not make abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements or gestures, or engage in any other conduct evidencing hatred or invidious prejudice to or about one person or group on account of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability. This includes comments and posts made on private social media sites.”
ProPublica, the nonprofit news outlet that released the information of the group named “I’m 10-15” detailed that it was created in August of 2016 and up until Monday had roughly 9,500 members. Although the names of the members were not released it is believed that given the description of the group, it was largely composed of active and former agents.
Posts allegedly showed disregard for undocumented immigrants that had died in custody or attempting to enter the U.S. as well as offensive comments aimed at elected officials planning to visit detention sites; Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Representative Veronica Escobar. Ocasio Cortez was quick to state that 9,500 members equates to roughly half of the 20,000 agents protecting the U.S. borders.
National media outlets reported that President Donald Trump denied having any knowledge of what had been posted by the agents and defended Border Patrol agents. His quote to USA Today, “The Border Patrol they’re patriots. They are good people.”