Border Patrol Agents Made Xenophobic, Misogynistic Comments in Secret Online Group: Report

As outrage over the squalid conditions in migrant camps on the U.S. border continues, a new report from ProPublica Monday demonstrates how members of a secret Facebook group for current and former agents of the United States Border Patrol made vulgar jokes about the deaths of migrants and lawmakers seeking to protect them.

The 9,500 member Facebook group was created in 2016 and goes by the name “I’m 10-15,” after the 10-15 Border Patrol code which means “aliens in custody.” The group refers to itself as an online forum “funny, serious, and just work related” discussion about work as a member of Border Patrol. “Remember you are never alone in this family,” the group’s introduction reads.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency currently employs approximately 20,000 Border Patrol agents who are tasked with policing the nation’s northern and southern borders, many of whom have come under increased scrutiny as President Donald Trump calls for harsher tactics in preventing immigrants from entering the country illegally.

In one instance, members of the “I’m 10-15” group exchanged joking barbs and apathetic remarks after someone in the group posted a story about a 16-year old Guatemalan migrant who died in Weslaco, Texas while in the custody of Border Patrol agents in May. According to the report, one group member responded by posting a GIF of Sesame Street’s Elmo shrugging accompanied by the words “Oh well.”Another responded with an image of Dolph Lundgren from the movie Rocky IV and text of his character’s line, “If he dies, he dies.”

Numerous other images from the group’s discussions were sent to ProPublica, which was then able to link numerous participants in “I’m 10-15” to accounts belonging to current agents of the Border Patrol, with some being verified as supervisory agents.

In screenshots, one group member can be seen commenting on an article about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas).

“Let’s start a go fund me for one CTX agent brave enough to throw a 10-15 burrito at one of these bitches. Whoever does it takes the pot of $$$,” the post reads.

“Fuck the hoes,” chimed in an apparent supervisor.

Another member made comments on an image taken by an Associated Press photographer that recently made national headlines. The image showed a Salvadoran father and his young daughter who had drowned in the Rio Grande while attempting to reach the United States. They have since been identified as Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Angie Valeria.

“Ok, I’m gonna go ahead and ask…have ya’ll ever seen floaters this clean. I’m not trying to be an a$$ but I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS, could this be another edited photo. We’ve all seen the dems and liberal parties do some pretty sick things,” a comment said.

Last month, Reveal News released an in-depth look at the secret online activity of law enforcement officials which revealed hundreds of instances of racism, white supremacy, and bigotry. Similarly, The Plain View Project recently unveiled a database of public Facebook posts and comments made by current and former police officers from several jurisdictions across the United States.

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: CBP has released a statement on “disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may included a number of CBP employees.”

CBP Chief Carla Provost said the following: “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see—and expect—from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

[image via John Moore/Getty Images]

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