U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, visited a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facility in El Paso, Texas on Monday. Before her visit, with 14 colleagues from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, ProPublica reported about a secret Border Patrol Facebook group that allegedly has approximately 9,500 current and former Border Patrol employees in it.
Some of the posts in the group were vile depictions of Ocasio-Cortez which I am not going to repeat here. Others made light of migrants who died. Other posts still used racially derogatory terms to refer to those who were detained.
CBP announced the matter was turned over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General to investigate.
What we don’t know is how many within the group are CBP officers, if those who made the offensive posts are, and how many people out of a group of 9500 were involved.
If current CBP officers are involved in the controversial posts then they should be disciplined, possibly terminated, depending on the post.
I’m not a fan of AOC, but the posts depicting her were way, way, way beyond the pale. They have no place in civil discourse.
Perspective is needed. From ProPublica’s report, three Border Patrol Officers names were provided to CBP, out of a group of 9500 people of which we don’t know how many have a connection to the Border Patrol. We also should not assume that the linked profiles to those comments are legitimate. If you are on Facebook surely you have seen people copy profiles to create a spam account.
It’s certainly not fair to paint every CBP employee in the light of these posts.
Yet that’s what Ocasio-Cortez appears to do in a tweet she posted earlier this afternoon.
First, we don’t know for certain if CBP officers were involved in the Facebook posts. Also, she provided no evidence that they acted that way toward her in person and she provides second-hand testimony. Also, her alleged behavior at the El Paso facility, as reported by The Washington Examiner, was, putting it mildly, odd.
She also tweeted:
Certainly, this should be investigated, but right now these are currently unsubstantiated claims. To reference, CBP detention cells have a stainless steel toilet/lavatory as you see pictured below:
Ocasio-Cortez confirmed this was the type of toilet the cell had and it didn’t work.
I will assume that they operated the lavatory correctly and if that is the case how long has it been broken? Were detainees provided water? Where they told to drink out of the toilet. We can not just take the word of someone who calls these facilities concentration camps.
CBP administration and DHS should look into these claims. If the women Ocasio-Cortez spoke with do have a malfunctioning lavatory and were not provided water, then the agents involved should be terminated and criminal charges, if appropriate, should be filed.
What is certain, however, is that resources are needed to alleviate the overcrowding and to help process refugee requests faster.
A lack of resources, however, does not excuse crass, racist, unprofessional, and possibly illegal behavior. If it happened, CBP needs to clean up its ranks, but thus far we don’t have any evidence beyond second-hand testimony and report of vulgar social media activity of potentially three CBP officers.