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Acting DHS chief begins investigation into secret border agent Facebook posts

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is swarmed by the media after touring a Border Patrol Facility housing children on July 1, 2019 in Clint, Texas. Reports of inhumane conditions have plagued the facility where migrant children are being held.

CHRIST CHAVEZ/GETTY IMAGES/TNS

By BY JOHN T. BENNETT | CQ-Roll Call | Published: July 3, 2019

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The Trump administration’s acting Homeland Security chief launched an investigation into offensive Facebook posts allegedly written by DHS personnel about Latino lawmakers and migrant detainees.

At issue is a once-secret Facebook group composed of current and former U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents that featured a list of lewd posts, including one describing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., involved in oral sex with a migrant detainee. It also featured posts about throwing burritos at Latino lawmakers when they visited a migrant detention facility in Texas on Monday. There also was joking about dead migrants from Central and South America.

After the Latino and other Democratic lawmakers reacted angrily to the group and its posts — as well as what they called mocking and disrespectful treatment while touring the site — acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday any agent the probe shows participated in the group by posting offensive messages “will be held accountable.”

In a tweet, McAleenan called the posts and images “disturbing & inexcusable” and “completely unacceptable, especially if made by those sworn to uphold the @DHSgov mission, our values & standards of conduct.”

The acting DHS chief also tweeted that he has “directed an immediate investigation” into the group and its posts. But it was not clear if any of the agents allegedly involved might be fired.

“Any employee found to have compromised the public’s trust in our law enforcement mission will be held accountable,” he wrote. “They do not represent the men and women of the Border Patrol or @DHSgov.”

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The secret group allegedly made up of Border Patrol agents included one post with a doctored image showing a grinning President Donald Trump and Ocasio-Cortez’s face near his groin, appearing to be performing oral sex on him. That post featured this message: “Lucky Illegal Immigrant Glory Hole Special Starring AOC,” according to ProPublica.

Another post encouraged agents to throw “burrito at these bitches” when members of Congressional Hispanic Caucus and others including Ocasio-Cortez, visited the Texas facility on Monday. One poster, identified in media reports as a Border Patrol supervisor, wrote “F—- the hoes,” with another member adding: “There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets.”

Trump and the White House have not commented on the Facebook group or what the president would like to see happen to any involved Border Patrol agents.

His Wednesday schedule, as of 9:35 a.m., does not feature any public events where he might take questions from reporters. He also has not tweeted about the situation.

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved
Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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