White House

Acting DHS chief starts ‘immediate investigation’ into secret border agent Facebook group

McAleenan promises to hold accountable any agent who posted offensive messages about members and detainees

Kevin K. McAleenan, now acting Homeland Security Chief, prepares to testify during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December. He said Wednesday he was launching an investigation into a secret Facebook group in which alleged Border Patrol agents posted lewd content about lawmakers and migrants.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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  Border Patrol agents that featured a list of lewd posts, including one describing Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 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 deceased migrants from Central and South America.

[Democrats decry harsh conditions after border facility tours]

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.”

[DHS watchdog details dangerous conditions for migrants at border centers]

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.”

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.

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