A ProPublica report published Monday that revealed current and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents made jokes about migrant deaths and posted sexist memes in a Facebook group drew quick reaction from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The group is called “I’m 10-15,” which is the code given by the agency to “aliens in custody,” ProPublica said. The nonprofit news organization was able to verify at least some of the 9,500 members of the Facebook group were currently CBP agents. The report found that members of the group often reacted to various references to CBP in the news.
Members of the Facebook group reacted by making jokes when one member shared a report about a young Guatemalan migrant who died earlier this year while in custody at a a CBP facility in Texas, ProPublica said. One user reacted with a GIF of Elmo, while another said ‘If he dies, he dies.’
In one post, members allegedly discussed whether a recent viral photo depicting a father and daughter who drowned while attempting to cross the border was edited or faked.
One meme specifically included a vulgar illustration of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to a screenshot obtained by ProPublica. Another depicted President Trump smiling, directing Ocasio-Cortez toward his crotch.
Ocasio-Cortez was quick to opine on Twitter.
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.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
This isn’t about “a few bad eggs.” This is a violent culture. https://t.co/SkFwThHElx
In a follow-up tweet, the Democrat from New York wondered how CBP’s agents could be trusted to care for refugees given what she called a “violent culture,” and said the report would not change her plans to visit a CBP facility later Monday.
Ocasio-Cortez was not the only member of Congress to react to the report. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas and the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus told ProPublica he was “incensed.”
“It confirms some of the worst criticisms of Customs and Border Protection. These are clearly agents who are desensitized to the point of being dangerous to migrants and their co-workers.”
Ocasio-Cortez has been a vocal opponent of President Trump’s immigration policy. Last week, she blasted the version of an emergency border aid bill that passed the House because of what she called a lack of humanitarian provisions, according to CNN.
“I do not believe we should be throwing more money to ICE,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN. “My district is 50 percent immigrant. I have an obligation and responsibility to protect them. I believe what we should ideally be doing is passing a pure humanitarian bill to get money straight to the kids.”