US Border Protection agency fires four employees and suspends 38 without pay after a year-long investigation into secret Facebook groups that shared racist and sexist posts about Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez

The US Customs and Border Protection agency has fired four employees and suspended nearly 40 without pay after a year-long investigation into inappropriate Facebook groups that featured racist posts about deceased migrants and Latina Congress members. 
According to the Los Angeles Times, the internal investigation launched last year into 138 CBP employees resulted in several layers of discipline.
In addition to the four terminated employees and 38 suspensions, 33 staffers were punished 'with reprimands or counseling.'
Investigators with CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility determined that roughly half, or 63, of the cases were 'unsubstantiated.'
As of Wednesday, the agency said that six cases remained open and the Homeland Security Department‘s inspector general is involved in the investigations.
It was revealed Friday that the US Customs and  Border Protection agency fired four employees and suspended dozens other over secret Facebook groups discovered last year
It was revealed Friday that the US Customs and  Border Protection agency fired four employees and suspended dozens other over secret Facebook groups discovered last year

News of CBP employees sharing racist, sexist and violent images in private Facebook groups was first reported by Propublica in July 2019.   
Federal officials called for an investigation into the concerning allegations that snagged more than 60 current employees eight former employees at the time.
The secret Facebook group called 'I'm 10-15,' the code used by CBP agents for migrants in custody, at one pint had around 9,500 members. 
'We are family, first and foremost,' the group's bio reportedly read. It was also billed as a 'fun, serious and just work related.'
A second group, called the 'The Real CBP Nation,' had around 1,000 members and shared similarly derogatory content targeting migrants and Latina politicians, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Veronica Escobar. 
The second Facebook group connected to Customs and Border Protection filled with inappropriate memes is called The Real CBP Nation
The second Facebook group connected to Customs and Border Protection filled with inappropriate memes is called The Real CBP Nation
Pictured: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Pictured: Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar
Several of the derogatory posts made in the secret CBP Facebook groups targeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and Rep. Veronica Escobar (right)
One post read: 'Feelin' kinda cute. Might separate some families today IDK.'
Another showed democratic Rep. Ocasio-Cortez next to a water fountain, asking: 'Is this a toilet?' 
The meme was a reference to Ocasio-Cortez's remarks last year that migrants at a pair of CBP stations she visited are 'drinking out of toilets' – a claim an agency official quickly denied.
The CBP official said toilets at border facilities all have sinks attached that deliver safe drinking water.
Some of the images which were revealed by ProPublica in the first group showed Ocasio-Cortez being forced to perform oral sex on Donald Trump.
It also contained mockery of dead migrants and accusations that images of a drowned father and daughter in the Rio Grande were faked. 
There were also suggestions that agents should identify themselves as 'Nazis' when they meet members of Congress.
A number of racist memes were shared in the CBP Facebook groups before it was revealed to officials last July
A number of racist memes were shared in the CBP Facebook groups before it was revealed to officials last July 
One post shows Democrat Ocasio-Cortez next to a water fountain, asking: 'Is this a toilet?'
One post shows Democrat Ocasio-Cortez next to a water fountain, asking: 'Is this a toilet?'
One member of the 'I am 10-15' group ¿ it's named for the radio code used when an illegal immigrant is detained ¿ suggested that a news photograph of a man and his toddler daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande was staged
One member of the 'I am 10-15' group – it's named for the radio code used when an illegal immigrant is detained – suggested that a news photograph of a man and his toddler daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande was staged
One post announcing that Ocasio-Cortez and Escobar were joining a tour to a Border Patrol station devolved into racist comments from group members.
'Let's start a GoFundMe,' one person wrote, 'for any CTX agent brave enough to throw a 10-burrito at one of these b******. Whoever does it takes the post of $$$.' 
At the time, CBP Chief of Operations Brian Hastings said: 'We take all the posts that were put out today very seriously. 
'These do not represent the thoughts of the men and women of the US Border Patrol. Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated.'
When Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar announced a visit to a border station near El Paso, a group member proposed a bounty collected on GoFundMe for any agent willing to throw a burrito at them
When Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar announced a visit to a border station near El Paso, a group member proposed a bounty collected on GoFundMe for any agent willing to throw a burrito at them
The institution had previously denied knowledge of the group, but it was alleged that CBP's higher echelons had been aware of it 'for years'. 
Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly blasted the institution over the findings and claimed the CBP had previously lied to Congress about their knowledge on the matter. 
'When members of Congress asked CBP if they knew about violently racist & sexually disturbing secret Facebook group w up to 10,000 CBP officers, they told us they just learned about it,' she wrote on Twitter in July 2019.
'Looks like CBP lied. Reporting shows they knew about it for *years.* This is a big deal.' 
AOC: 'When members of Congress asked CBP if they knew about violently racist & sexually disturbing secret Facebook group w up to 10,000 CBP officers, they told us they just learned about it'
AOC: 'When members of Congress asked CBP if they knew about violently racist & sexually disturbing secret Facebook group w up to 10,000 CBP officers, they told us they just learned about it'
She has not publicly spoken out since CBP's announcement Friday, but Rep. Escobar of Texas questioned why the investigation did not result in more terminations.
Escobar wrote on Twitter: 'This secret FB page mocked the deaths of migrants - vulnerable people dehumanized by a broken system.  
'1. I'm one of the Latina members of Congress targeted by the hateful attacks & never received investigation results from.
'2. The posts shouldn't have just triggered firings but also an investigation into why other members never reported it. 
'3. Facebook is a cesspool.'
 During the investigation, the number of suspected individuals doubled and unearthed several additional secret social media groups.
The majority of cases determined uncorroborated involved staffers who reported themselves or other as group members, and provided information to investigators. 
Group history reportedly showed those self-reported individuals had never posted in the Facebook forums or had been active in them.
Veronica Escobar spoke out on Twitter Thursday night to address news of the CBP's terminations and suspensions
Veronica Escobar spoke out on Twitter Thursday night to address news of the CBP's terminations and suspensions
Escobar questioned why more employees had not been fired during the internal investigation
Escobar questioned why more employees had not been fired during the internal investigation 
At the investigation's start, Matthew Klein, the assistant commissioner of the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said that social media private settings do not protect current or former employees from disciplinary action.
This case was not the first of its kind, according to Klein. In 2016, CBP officials investigated 80 staffers for indecorous posts in at least three online groups.
In a statement on Thursday, Rep. JoaquĆ­n Castro called the CBP's actions a 'step in the right direction to demonstrate that federal law enforcement agents cannot act with impunity.'
But also criticized the agency and requested additional information as to why 'so few individuals were terminated and held fully accountable.'
Pictured: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks a tractor-trailer for clearance after crossing from Canada
Pictured: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks a tractor-trailer for clearance after crossing from Canada 
President Donald Trump has received repeated critiques for his anti-immigration policies and rhetoric
President Donald Trump has received repeated critiques for his anti-immigration policies and rhetoric
'For far too long, there has been a rancid culture and systemic problems within Customs and Border Protection,' he wrote.
The initial investigation findings were shared with Congress. 
'Customs and Border Protection addresses misconduct that violates our standards of conduct and is contrary to our core values of vigilance, service to country, and integrity,' a CBP spokesperson told the LA Times. 
Bennie Thompson, the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson from Mississippi,' said he was 'glad' some employees were held accountable “or abhorrently racist and sexist social media posts.'
'We still need to know how the agency is addressing its systemic cultural problems which have clearly been exacerbated by President Trump’s extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric,' he added. 
 Throughout his four years in office, President Trump has consistently railed against immigrants in campaign rallies attempted to enact policy changes to America's current system.
Much of his rhetoric has been labeled racist, ignorant, divisive and slanted with a particular focus on anti-Latino statements.   
He was blasted by his colleagues across the aisle over his handling of Central American immigrants that many claimed he put into cages. 
Ocasio-Cortez shocked at conditions in Texas migrant detention centre
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 An analysis by USA Today found that during 64 rallies between 2017 and August 2019, Trump has used the word 'invasion' at least 19 times when discussing immigration.
The word 'animal' was used 34 times and 'killer' amassed to nearly three dozen times.
Other controversial rhetoric included 'predator,' 'criminal' and 'alien' during rallies where he spoke about immigration more than 500 times.
Trump has yet to erect a full wall at the US-Mexico border, despite it being a massive point in his first presidential election.
Additionally, the Trump administration took another hit this month after it abandoned plans to deport international students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement initially said international students could face deportation if they aren't registered at least one in-person course in the fall. 
But such decisions are not entirely up to students as several schools, including Harvard University, have shifted classes online to adhere to public health suggestions.
The Trump administration appeared to drop their policy after  Harvard University, MIT and 17 states filed a lawsuit over the potential deportations.
US Border Protection agency fires four employees and suspends 38 without pay after a year-long investigation into secret Facebook groups that shared racist and sexist posts about Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez US Border Protection agency fires four employees and suspends 38 without pay after a year-long investigation into secret Facebook groups that shared racist and sexist posts about Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez Reviewed by Your Destination on July 18, 2020 Rating: 5

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