Border Patrol Agents Posted Sexist AOC Memes & Joked About Migrant Deaths

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Members of a secret Facebook group of nearly 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents posted vulgar memes about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and joked about the deaths of Central American migrants ahead of Ocasio-Cortez's visit to migrant detention facilities on Monday with other lawmakers, ProPublica reported. Now, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has launched an investigation into the group.Screenshots reviewed by journalist A.C. Thompson show that members of the group "I’m 10-15" (Border Patrol code for "aliens in custody") encouraged each other to hurl a "burrito at these bitches," in reference to Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar. They also posted explicit doctored images of Ocasio-Cortez engaging in oral sex, one of which shows President Donald Trump grabbing her by the neck and forcing her toward his crotch with a caption reading, "That’s right bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won."AdvertisementOcasio-Cortez condemned the group, tweeting: "This just broke: a secret Facebook group of 9,500 CBP officers discussed making a GoFundMe for officers to harm myself & Rep. Escobar during our visit to CBP facilities & mocked migrant deaths. This isn’t about 'a few bad eggs.' This is a violent culture."What's Happening In The Migrant Detention CentersInside The World Of AOC's Instagram FansHow To Help Migrant Children In U.S. DetentionShe added: "There are 20,000 TOTAL Customs & Border Patrol agents in the US. 9,500 – almost HALF that number – are in a racist & sexually violent secret CBP Facebook group. They’re threatening violence on members of Congress. How do you think they’re treating caged children+families?"In a post about 16-year-old Carlos Hernández Vásquez, one of the six migrant children who've died in U.S. custody since September, group members replied with, "Oh well" and, "If he dies, he dies." They also posed the conspiracy theory that a picture showing the dead bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, was fake. In the post, they called them "floaters" — referring to the fact that they drowned in the Rio Grande. The photo was taken by an Associated Press photojournalist."The comments against Congresswoman Escobar and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez are vile and sexist," an aide to Escobar told Refinery29 via email. "Furthermore, the comments made by Border Patrol agents towards immigrants, especially those that have lost their lives, are disgusting and a complete disregard for human life and dignity." Border Patrol has nearly 20,000 agents policing the U.S. boundaries. In recent weeks, the agency has come under fire for its treatment of migrant children in custody, which has led advocates, lawmakers, and historians to compare detention centers to "concentration camps." Several reports say minors have gone weeks in detention without access to adequate food, space to sleep, or even basic sanitary necessities such as soap or toothpaste, which is in direct violation of the 1997 Flores settlement agreement.AdvertisementThis is not the first time Border Patrol agents have faced disturbing allegations of racism and xenophobia. A 2018 federal investigation found that agents in southern Arizona had described migrants as "guats," "wild ass shitbags," "mindless murdering savages," "beaners," and "subhuman" in a group chat. One of the agents, Matthew Bowen, was charged in 2018 with hitting a Guatemalan migrant with his truck and then lying about it on his incident report.In a statement provided to Refinery29, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost promised that members of the group involved in the violent, misogynistic posts would face consequences. "These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out," she said. "Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable."After touring her first facility of the day, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the conditions she saw."I see why CBP officers were being so physically and sexually threatening towards me," she wrote. "Officers were keeping women in cells with no water and had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress."She later added: "After I forced myself into a cell with women and began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as 'psychological warfare' — waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them whores, etc. Tell me what about that is due to a 'lack of funding?'" Advertisement

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