Border Patrol investigating over 60 employees for involvement in secret Facebook group

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Monday said 62 current Border Patrol employees are under internal investigation for their involvement in a secret Facebook group filled with derogatory posts targeting migrants and lawmakers, The Associated Press reported.

CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) reportedly said that eight former employees are also under investigation.

A CBP official confirmed to The Hill that 70 individuals are under investigation related to activity in three private social media groups. Two cases have been concluded and sent to internal management for adjudication.

Assistant Commissioner for the agency's OPR Matthew Klein told the AP that most of those under investigation posted in the group called "I'm 10-15."

In that group, which was uncovered by ProPublica and has upwards of 9,000 members, current and former employees joked about dead migrants and included an edited image of a smiling President Trump forcing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) head toward his crotch.

"Messages posted on a private page that are discriminatory or harassing are not protected and violate standards of conduct," Klein said in a statement.

Klein said his agency referred the case to the Homeland Security Department's watchdog agency, which declined to investigate and sent the case back to CBP.

The agency had said that it reached out to CBP's inspector general after ProPublica's investigation.

"These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see - and expect- from our agents day in and day out," Border Patrol chief Carla Provost said in a statement.

"Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable."

The Intercept reported this month that Provost was a member of the group. Provost reportedly posted in the group as recently as three months after her August appointment.

Officials on Monday would not tell AP whether those under investigation included Provost or other top officials, but said they were working through the level of responsibility someone has in the group.

"To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don't end at the end of a shift," Klein said.

An internal CBP memo obtained by The Hill earlier this month showed the agency was aware of the group as early as February 2018.