House Oversight committee requests documents from CBP Facebook groups

House Oversight committee requests documents from CBP Facebook groups
© Greg Nash

The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday requested a tranche of documents related to racist and sexist Facebook posts by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsPence extends olive branch to Cummings after Trump's Baltimore attacks Infrastructure needed to treat addiction as chronic disease doesn't exist GOP retreat creates WiFi password blasting socialism MORE (D-Md.) sent a letter to Mark Morgan, a top official at CBP, seeking information the agency has collected about the Facebook groups and their members.

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The letter comes weeks after reports revealed thousands of CBP officers had participated in Facebook groups filled with derogatory posts targeting migrants and minority lawmakers.

CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating 62 current Border Patrol employees for their involvement in three groups, including "I’m 10-15," the first group that was publicly reported.

“The Committee is investigating racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments relating to immigrants and Members of Congress made by employees of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in ‘secret’ Facebook groups,” Cummings wrote in Wednesday's letter. "The Committee is concerned that Border Patrol agents and other CBP employees who wrote posts disparaging immigrants may still be working with immigrants and children.”

Cummings asked for "all postings and comments, including images, videos and text, from these Facebook groups," as well as "membership information from these Facebook groups" and all correspondence related to the groups.

Earlier this month, the committee requested similar information from Facebook, asking the company to "preserve all documents, communications and other data related to the 'I'm 10-15' group," including log files and metadata.

In a statement to The Hill, a Facebook spokesperson said Wednesday that the company has been in "regular contact" with the committee.

"We ... will continue to work with the committee to lawfully obtain the information it is seeking," the spokesperson said. "We are also continuing to cooperate with federal authorities.”

The first Facebook group uncovered, "I'm 10-15," included posts from current and former CBP employees joking about dead migrants and an edited image of a smiling President Trump forcing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) head toward his crotch. Top members of CBP, including Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, participated in the Facebook group.

Cummings in the letter said CBP is still waiting for a briefing on the investigation into the social media posts.

The committee held a hearing with acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan earlier this month, during which members pressed him on whether CBP agents who made derogatory comments in the Facebook groups were still working with immigrants.

"We’ve already put individuals on administrative duties," he said. "I don’t know which ones correspond with which posts."

--Updated at 12:27 p.m.