The three-year-old Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15”, which is a Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody,” where agents joked about dead migrants and posted sexists memes about women.
A secret Facebook group has been exposed where roughly 9,500 current and former members from the United States (U.S.) Border Patrol joke about the deaths of migrants, and share derogatory comments and sexists posts about women, according to an exposé made by ProPublica on Monday.
The three-year-old Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15”, which is a Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody,” and it describes itself in the “about” section, as a forum for “funny” and “serious” discussion about work with the patrol.
ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, received images of several recent discussions in the Facebook group. These show xenophobic, sexist and racist comments made against Latin American migrants and Latino congresswomen.
In a post, for instance, members joked about the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. A member posted a GIF of Sesame Street character “Elmo” with the quote, “Oh well.” While another responded with the words “if he dies, he dies.”
After checking the images, ProPublica was able to link the participants to legitimate Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents, including a supervisor based in El Paso, Texas, and an agent in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Another post regarded the latest internationally-known case about Oscar and Valeria Martinez, a father and two-year-old daughter from El Salvador who drowned while trying to cross the Mexico-U.S border. A member posted the picture while asking the group if this “could be another edited photo” as he has "never seen floaters" so "clean."
“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,” The head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Joaquin Castro, said after reviewing the images.
Customs and Border Patrol has announced it is launching an investigation.
In a series of latest posts, reviewed by ProPublica, members focused on the planned visit on Monday by Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Veronica Escobar to the denounced Border Patrol facility outside of El Paso.
The Border Patrol agents discussed throwing burritos at the women, due to their Hispanic background. Another, apparently the patrol supervisor, wrote, “F*ck the hoes.” While a third member said that “there should be no photo ops for these scumbuckets.”
Also, at least two posts featured tampered images of Ocasio-Cortez engaging in degrading oral sex positions with a detained migrant and U.S. President Donald Trump, the latter’s caption read “That's right b*tches...This is what I have to say.”
"If you want water, just drink from a toilet." That's what border patrol told one thirsty woman we met on today's #DemsAtTheBorder trip. These are the same CBP personnel who threatened to throw burritos at members of Congress. Changes must be made. #DontLookAway pic.twitter.com/dW34DRduDA— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) July 1, 2019
This latest controversy comes as a June 20 Associated Press report showed that more than 250 migrant children, including teens, infants, and toddlers, are locked up in "horrendous" conditions at a Border Patrol station in Texas near the city of El Paso.
The experts who visited the facilities were left aghast when faced with scenes of children enduring traumatic and dangerous situations, lacking basic human needs including adequate food and water as well as medical care.
Many academics, experts, and even Holocaust survivors have condemned the conditions of the Border Patrol’s detention centers dubbing them “concentration camps,” as they meet the international criteria to define them as such. Meanwhile, Trump continues his anti-migrant rhetoric as the main proposal in his 2020 reelection campaign.