US Border Patrol is investigating a secret Facebook group which allegedly shared images of dead migrants and violent sexual memes of women who had spoken up in the migrants’ defence.
The group of roughly 9,500 members was uncovered by ProPublica which reported it featured agents joking about the deaths of migrants and making racist derogatory comments about Latino members of Congress.
Officials at US Customs and Border Protection have said they are now investigating the “disturbing social media activity” and promised to hold its employees accountable.
It follows the haunting image of the lifeless bodies of Oscar Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria clinging on to each other on the shore of the Rio Grande after dying in their attempt to cross into the US.
Donald Trump claimed Democrats were to blame by preventing legal changes which would stop people making dangerous journeys in order to enter the country.
In an interview with CNN, Border Patrol’s chief of operations Brian Hastings said: “We take all the posts that were put out today very seriously.
“These do not represent the thoughts of the man and women of the US Border Patrol. Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated.”
The group, which was called “I’m 10-15” after the Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody”, was created in August 2016.
Among the posts was one calling for Border Patrol agents to throw burritos at Latina politicians Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Veronica Escobar who visited a migrant detention facility in Texas this week.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said that migrants held at the facility were being subjected to psychological abuse and being told to drink out of toilets following the visit.
Here’s another photo from inside taken by @JoaquinCastrotx, where we’re trying to comfort women trapped in cells.
This woman was telling me about her daughters who were taken from her – she doesn’t know where they’ve taken them.
We held & listened to them. They were distraught. pic.twitter.com/ca1GwKfDfU
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 2, 2019
She described the detention centre as a concentration camp.
“After I forced myself into a cell with women and began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as ‘psychological warfare’,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez, said.
“This isn’t about ‘a few bad eggs’,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez added, referencing the ProPublica report. “This is a violent culture.”
Matthew Klein, the assistant commissioner of Border Patrol’s office of professional responsibility, described the Facebook group as “disturbing” and said it had been referred to the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) inspector general.
“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honour and integrity I see – and expect – from our agents day in and day out,” said US Border Patrol chief Carla Provost.
“Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”
Source: SKY NEWS