Border Officers Caught Posting Racist, Sexist Content on Facebook Face Little Discipline

Border Patrol agents who made "violent and offensive" posts on Facebook face few consequences, according to a report by the Committee on Oversight and Reform released Monday.

The report—which presented findings of an investigation that was launched in 2019—outlined minimal punishments for the misogynistic, racist and homophobic posts by Border Patrol agents in private groups for them. The largest, "I'm 10-15," had more than 9,500 members, the report said.

One agent who posted an internal video—recorded from a computer screen—showing a migrant falling to his death and wrote "FTP" about a member of Congress, which he explained meant "f*** the p***," received only a 30-day suspension after it was recommended that he should be removed, the report said.

Another who said the Rio Grande should be stocked with alligators and sharks to prevent migrants from entering the United States received only a letter of reprimand, according to the report.

CBP allegedly found that 60 agents engaged in misconduct over Facebook, but they discipline was "significantly" reduced from what was recommended by the agency's Disciple Review Board, according to the report.

Of the 24 CBP members the board recommended to be removed, only two were. Twenty had removal reduced to less severe penalties, while two others retired shortly after.

One agent who allegedly posted a sexually explicit doctored image and derogatory remarks about a congressperson had his discipline reduced to a 60-day suspension and was awarded back pay, the report found.

Fifty-seven of the 60 agents—even those who made degrading and threatening comments about migrants—continue working with migrants, the report said.

The report also alleged that CBP took "minimal action" to strengthen social media training or guidance following reports about agents' misconduct and the launch of the investigation.

Two high-ranking CBP officials, Carla Provost and Rodney Scott, were also allegedly part of the groups, but did not report any of the alleged misconduct.

"These outcomes were the result of a number of failings at CBP, including an inconsistent disciplinary process, a failure to train on and enforce social media policies, and senior leadership's failure to take appropriate actions despite knowledge of these Facebook groups," the report reads.

The report pointed to weakness in the disciplinary process as to why the agents were not disciplined. It found that the agency did not have specific disciplinary guidelines for social media misconduct and offered inconsistent punishments.

It also found that low morale among agents contributed to a culture that allowed the Facebook groups to flourish.

In a statement sent to Newsweek Monday afternoon, a CBP spokesperson said that hateful, misogynistic or racist behavior would not be tolerated.

"DHS, including CBP, is participating in an internal review as directed by Secretary Mayorkas to identify and terminate intolerable prejudice, and to reform policies and training," the statement said. "CBP is working to review policies and to underscore the need to respect the dignity of every individual, fight against discrimination, safeguard civil rights and civil liberties, and increase transparency and accountability."

Border Patrol
A new report found that Border Patrol agents who allegedly made racist, sexist and homophobic posts in Facebook groups faced few consequences. Above, a Border Patrol page is seen in McAllen, Texas, in January 2019. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images