ProPublica published a bombshell report Monday that exposed a secret Facebook group filled with current and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents who made jokes about migrant deaths and posted sexist memes.
Created in August 2016, the Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15,” which is the code given by the agency to “aliens in custody,” ProPublica said.
The nonprofit news organization was able to verify at least some of the 9,500 members of the Facebook group were currently CBP agents.
In one post, group members reportedly joked about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. One user reacted with a GIF of Elmo, while another said ‘If he dies, he dies.’
Another post included an image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant.
Another photo included an illustration of a smiling President Trump forcing Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch. The agent who posted the meme commented: “That’s right bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won.”
Another post attacked Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”
Ocasio-Cortez shared ProPublica’s report Monday, saying it showed “a violent culture” in the CBP.
“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? PS I have no plans to change my itinerary & will visit the CBP station today,” she 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?
PS I have no plans to change my itinerary & will visit the CBP station today.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
“These comments and memes are extremely troubling,” Daniel Martinez, a sociologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson who studies the border, told ProPublica “They’re clearly xenophobic and sexist.”
Martinez says the postings reflect what “seems to be a pervasive culture of cruelty aimed at immigrants within CBP. This isn’t just a few rogue agents or ‘bad apples.’”
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told ProPublica: “It confirms some of the worst criticisms of Customs and Border Protection. These are clearly agents who are desensitized to the point of being dangerous to migrants and their co-workers.”