U.S. Customs and Border Protection found at least 60 cases of misconduct during a review of Border Patrol agents’ Facebook posts, though only two were fired, CBS News reports.
The report concerns an investigation that began in 2019 concerning "violent and offensive posts" by CBP "personnel in secret Facebook groups. The most prominent of these groups, a private group for Border Patrol agents called 'I’m 10-15,' had more than 9,500 members in July 2019."
The House Oversight and Reform Committee released the report on Monday, which "found that CBP conducted 135 investigations into personnel affiliated with 'I’m 10-15' and similar secret Facebook groups.
"The agency determined that 60 CBP agents engaged in misconduct and were subject to discipline. However, the discipline imposed on most of those agents was significantly reduced from the recommendation made by CBP’s Discipline Review Board.
"Eighteen agents whom the Board recommended removing from their positions due to serious misconduct had their discipline reduced to suspensions. One proposed removal was reduced to a letter of reprimand, and another was reduced to an 'oral admonishment.' Most of these agents were then allowed to resume working with migrants and children."
Among the 60 cases was an instance in which "a Border Patrol agent who posted a sexually explicit doctored image and derogatory comments about a member of Congress had his discipline reduced from removal to a 60-day suspension and was awarded back pay."
In another case, "a Border Patrol agent with a history of multiple infractions was allowed to retire with disability benefits rather than face removal or any other discipline after posting a photograph of a drowned father and child and referring derisively to them as 'floaters.'"
The report goes on to note that "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."
It adds, "Of the 60 agents that CBP determined had committed misconduct, two agents were removed, 43 were suspended without pay, 12 received letters of reprimand, and three were issued alternate disciplinary actions such as a suspension with pay.
"Ten other employees retired from federal service before a final misconduct finding was made. In addition, 11 employees received corrective or nondisciplinary actions, such as letters of caution."
A spokesperson for the agency told CBS in a statement that "CBP will not tolerate hateful, misogynist, or racist behavior or any conduct that is unbecoming of the honor we hold as public servants.
"DHS, including CBP, is participating in an internal review as directed by Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas to identify and terminate intolerable prejudice, and to reform policies and training. 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."
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