DHS chief orders investigation into reports of secret Border Patrol Facebook group

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday he has ordered an investigation into reports that Border Patrol agents posted vulgar and derogatory messages against migrants and lawmakers in a secret Facebook group. 

“Reporting this week highlighted disturbing & inexcusable social media activity that allegedly includes active Border Patrol personnel,” McAleenan tweeted, calling the posts “completely unacceptable.”

“Any employee found to have compromised the public’s trust in our law enforcement mission will be held accountable,” he continued. 

The Facebook group was first uncovered this week by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, which revealed that current and former Border Patrol agents joked about dead migrants and made sexually crude references about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezClub for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Trump will soon be out of office — but polarization isn't going anywhere Trump tweets Thanksgiving criticism of NFL QBs for kneeling MORE (D-N.Y.)

One post included a photo illustration of Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, and another showed President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE forcing the lawmaker's face into his crotch, about which one agent commented, “That’s right bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won.”

In another post, group members questioned whether the widely shared photograph of a father and his young daughter lying face down in the Rio Grande River may have been doctored. The photo was taken by The Associated Press and there is no evidence it was staged. 

The comments added to the furor on Capitol Hill over the Trump administration’s handling of the influx of Central American migrants at the southern border. Also this week, a new report from the Department of Homeland Security’s independent watchdog showed squalid conditions at detention centers near the border. 

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visited one center near Clint, Texas, and described similar conditions. Ocasio-Cortez also accused immigration enforcement officials of making threatening comments toward her. 

Updated at 9:52 a.m.