Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said today that any agents responsible for recently uncovered Facebook posts targeting migrants and Democratic lawmakers should be fired.
“It should be done immediately,” Judd told POLITICO. “They do not deserve to be in uniform, they do not deserve to be in the field.”
The news outlet ProPublica on Monday exposed offensive comments and images posted to a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents. The group’s members joked about migrant deaths and posted vulgar illustrations of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-N.Y.), according to the outlet.
Several Democratic lawmakers — including House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) — have called for any agents found responsible for the posts to be fired. Thompson blamed a lack of oversight at the Homeland Security Department, which has undergone a rolling leadership purge in recent months.
“It is clear these federal law enforcement officials seem empowered by President Trump and seem all too willing to take his anti-immigrant rhetoric to the next level when they think no one is watching,” Thompson said in a written statement.
Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders became the latest top-level official to depart when he announced his resignation to staffers last week.
The union — which represents 14,500 rank-and-file agents — released its own statement on Twitter that condemned the social media posts and argued the remarks and memes didn’t reflect a broader ethos at the agency.
“The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol are by and large professional law enforcement officers who only want to do their job,” the statement said. “To have a small minority of Facebook group members tarnish that image is unfortunate and embarrassing.”
Judd said the union has warned its members in the past about posting inappropriate content to social media and reached out to CBP over postings in this particular Facebook group.
Judd also said he spoke about the incident with Mark Morgan, whom Trump tapped last week to become acting CBP commissioner following Sanders’ resignation.
Judd said Morgan, who is currently the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, pledged to respond to the incident “as seriously as he possibly can.”
Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said in a written statement that agents would face repercussions if found culpable.
“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.”