- Customs and Border Protection officials have been accused of humiliating a migrant detained at a Texas processing center by forcing him to walk through the facility holding a sign reading “I like men” in Spanish, CNN reported on Thursday.
- An agent at the El Paso Processing Center was accused of ordering the migrant to walk around the facility holding a paper sign reading “me gustan los hombres,” according to emails and a photograph obtained by CNN.
- The agent who reported the incident said in the emails that they had seen “several colleagues displaying poor behaviour and management’s failure to act,” CNN said.
- In response to CNN’s request for comment, CBP said their internal Office of Professional Responsibility was investigating the matter.
- CBP has been under increased scrutiny in recent days after a number of reports uncovered multiple private Facebook groups in which CBP agents mocked migrants and Democratic members of Congress.
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Customs and Border Protection officials have been accused of trying to humiliate a migrant detained at a Texas processing center by forcing him to walk through the facility holding a sign reading “I like men” in Spanish, CNN reported on Thursday.
An agent at the El Paso Processing Center was accused of ordering the migrant, who was not named in the story, to walk in front of a group of other migrants awaiting processing holding a paper sign reading “me gustan los hombre(s),” according to emails and a photograph of the sign obtained by CNN.
The incident, which the emails alleged took place on March 5, was witnessed by another agent working in the processing center who intervened to stop the situation from progressing and reported it to the immediate supervisor.
The agent who reported the incident said in the emails that they had seen “several colleagues displaying poor behaviour and management’s failure to act,” CNN said, adding that the reporting agent intervened and brought the matter to one of the senior agents at the facility that day, but the senior agent did not immediately address the event.
In a statement to INSIDER, a CBP official said that allegations of mistreatment have been referred to both the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, adding that a report of the incident is under investigation.
CBP has been under increased scrutiny in recent days after a bombshell investigative report by ProPublica uncovered the existence of a Border Patrol-linked Facebook group called “I’m 10:15” with 9,500 members who created posts mocking dead migrants and lodging racist and sexist slurs against Latina Democratic members of Congress, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Veronica Escobar.
On July 3, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan tweeted that he had “directed an immediate investigation” into “disturbing & inexcusable social media activity that allegedly includes active Border Patrol personnel.”
On Friday, CNN also reported the existence of another secret Facebook group called “The Real CBP Nation,” which has about 1,000 members who are accused of sharing offensive memes joking about separating migrant families and other racially offensive memes and jokes, although they were not able to independently verify how many members were active CBP personnel.
“CBP received screenshots of social media posts allegedly by CBP employees and has shared those posts with the Office of Professional Responsibility, the office charged with investigating potential employee misconduct,” a CBP spokesperson told INSIDER in an email. “OPR is investigating the posts to determine the facts. If the investigation verifies that employees posted content in violation of CBP’s code of conduct, the findings will inform management decisions regarding appropriate disciplinary action.”
The spokesperson also said the department does not “tolerate misconduct on or off duty and will hold those who violate our code of conduct accountable,” saying the posts “do not reflect the core values of the agency and do not reflect the vast majority of employees.”