The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security has demanded any documents that link the new chief of the U.S. Border Patrol to a secret Facebook group that has posted racist and sexist messages, as well as vulgar attacks on lawmakers.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called for records concerning Chief Rodney Scott to determine “the extent to which Customs and Border Protection ... evaluated Mr. Scott’s engagement with social media sites in which CBP personnel engaged in racist and hateful dialogue regarding immigrants and members of Congress.” The Border Patrol is the law enforcement arm of Customs and Border Protection.
The Monday letter from Thompson followed articles by ProPublica and The Intercept last summer. According to The Intercept, Scott was one of a number of CBP leaders who participated in the “I’m 10-15” Facebook group, which refers to the code for “aliens in custody.” The group, created in 2016, includes about 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents.
Participants have posted messages calling Latina lawmakers visiting Texas immigrant detention centers “hoes,” and one responded to a post about a teenage Guatemalan immigrant who died in U.S. custody: “If he dies, he dies,” according to screenshots from the Facebook site obtained by ProPublica.
One illustration depicted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to the article. Another image showed Donald Trump pushing Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch and saying: “That’s right bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won.”
Scott, formerly head of the agency’s San Diego sector, was chosen by the Trump administration to replace Chief Carla Provost, who retired amid criticism over her own participation in the Facebook group. Provost called the page “completely inappropriate” before it was reported she actively participated on the site even after she was named head of U.S. Border Patrol.
Thompson called for any information or documents concerning any investigation into Scott’s participation in the Facebook group, including what he posted, when he joined and when he left, “if he did so.” Thompson gave Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan a deadline of Feb. 7 to provide the information.
Since the ProPublica and Intercept stories were published, CBP has fired three border agents for their participation in the Facebook site. An internal CBP review recommended the agency fire at least seven people and take disciplinary action against 20.