Politics|Border Patrol Repeatedly Gave Agents Light Punishments, Report Finds
After an enquiry into a backstage Facebook radical wherever racist memes were shared, 60 employees were recovered to person violated the agency’s codification of conduct. Two were fired.
Oct. 25, 2021, 12:19 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — After it was revealed successful 2019 that scores of borderline officials belonged to a backstage Facebook radical that contained racist and different violative posts, investigations into the misconduct resulted successful minimal discipline, according to a House Oversight and Reform Committee study released Monday.
Where a disciplinary committee recommended two-dozen firings, suspensions and letters of reprimand were issued alternatively and conscionable 2 mislaid their jobs. A Border Patrol cause who posted immoderate of the astir violative images was allowed to discontinue with disablement and benefits.
The report, released by Democrats connected the committee, comes astatine a clip erstwhile the behaviour of Border Patrol agents is nether scrutiny again, this clip aft agents connected horseback corralled Black migrants successful the Texas borderline municipality of Del Rio past month.
The aforesaid bureau liable for overseeing investigations of 135 Border Patrol employees related to the 2019 Facebook group, called “I’m 10-15” — a notation to a instrumentality enforcement codification for undocumented immigrants successful custody — is besides conducting the Del Rio inquiry.
After the investigation, 60 employees were recovered to person violated the agency’s codification of behaviour aft posting violative images and memes, including 1 questioning whether a photograph of a dormant migrant begetter and kid was staged and doctored, and obscene pictures of Hispanic lawmakers. Ultimately 2 employees were fired.
“C.B.P.’s nonaccomplishment to forestall these convulsive and violative statements by its ain agents oregon enforce capable subject creates a superior hazard that this behaviour volition continue,” Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the oversight committee, said successful a statement. “As we saw with the mistreatment of migrants by Border Patrol agents successful Del Rio, Texas, past month, systemic behaviour problems wrong C.B.P. persist.”
The Department of Homeland Security did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.
The president of the Border Patrol union, Brandon Judd, said the disciplinary process for Customs and Border Protection was modular crossed the national authorities and reflective of the justness system, which was built connected a idiosyncratic being guiltless until proven guilty. “Not the different mode astir oregon blameworthy solely based connected an allegation,” helium said.
The Border Patrol had a high-profile relation during the Trump medication arsenic an enforcer of erstwhile President Donald J. Trump’s harsh migration policies. Officials astatine Customs and Border Protection were alert of the Facebook radical successful 2016, the study said. In 2019, the radical had astir 9,500 members. Two of the agency’s chiefs were members of the group, and some justified their memberships arsenic a mode to support way of their enactment force.
But critics person pointed to the “I’m 10-15” radical arsenic grounds of a deep-rooted civilization wrong the Border Patrol that has led to the regular debasement of migrants. The Project connected Government Oversight, an outer watchdog group, precocious called Customs and Border Protection the national government’s “least transparent and accountable” instrumentality enforcement agency.
The Trump medication had blocked the House committee’s inquiry, which began successful 2019 aft the Facebook radical was revealed. Customs and Border Protection began providing documents to lawmakers successful February, aft President Biden took office, the study said.
The committee faulted Customs and Border Protection for not having a beardown capable societal media argumentation oregon doing capable to marque its employees alert of it. But its main disapproval acrophobic the agency’s determination to dole retired lighter subject than what was recommended by its Discipline Review Board. The agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility conducted the investigations, the reappraisal committee made recommendations and a “deciding official” made the last decisions connected punishment.
According to the report, of the 60 employees that Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility determined acted with misconduct, 2 were fired; 43 were suspended without pay; 12 got letters of reprimand; and 3 were fixed different punishments, specified arsenic suspension without pay.
In 1 case, the subject reappraisal committee recommended firing a Border Patrol supervisor who posted a C.B.P. video of a migrant falling disconnected a cliff and dying connected the group’s Facebook page, arsenic good arsenic an obscene remark astir a lawmaker. But successful the end, the punishment was a 30-day suspension. Other punishments were reduced aft an arbitration process.
The agency’s nonaccomplishment to rapidly subject employees aft elder leaders became alert of the Facebook group, its deficiency of circumstantial disciplinary guidelines and the inconsistent punishments it applied each weakened C.B.P.’s quality to clasp agents accountable for misconduct, the study found.
“It is unacceptable that the immense bulk of these agents faced reduced punishment and were allowed to proceed moving with migrants,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, said successful a statement. “The precocious Chairman Cummings would often punctual america astatine moments similar these that ‘we are amended than this!’” Mr. Jeffries was referring to Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who pb the committee erstwhile it first began investigating the Facebook group. Mr. Cummings died successful October 2019.
It was not instantly wide if the probe into the attraction of migrants successful Del Rio past period would beryllium conducted the aforesaid way, with the reappraisal committee recommending definite disciplinary measures and a “deciding official.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector wide conducted a abstracted probe into whether elder bureau officials were alert of however galore employees were portion of the Facebook radical and recovered that they mostly did not. But the interior watchdog said that C.B.P. leaders did thing to forestall thing akin from happening successful the aboriginal until the section directed them to.