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Committee Demands that CBP Comply with Investigation into Secret Facebook Groups

Feb 18, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 18, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter demanding that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stop obstructing the Committee’s investigation into current and former Border Patrol agents who posted offensive content on secret Facebook groups and who still may be working with immigrants and children.

“As you know, over the past year, the Committee has been investigating racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments made by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees in secret Facebook groups,” wrote Maloney.  “However, CBP has been obstructing the Committee’s investigation by making baseless and shifting legal claims in order to avoid producing critical documents and witnesses.  As a result, the Committee has been unable to determine whether CBP employees who made inappropriate and threatening comments are still on the job, potentially putting children, immigrants, and fellow CBP employees at risk.”

On January 14, 2020, a press outlet reported that CBP disregarded recommendations from an internal review board to terminate four employees for their conduct.  The review board reportedly also recommended 30-day suspensions without pay for at least 20 other employees, but according to the report, an unnamed senior CBP official stated that “a lot of these proposals” were reduced to letters of reprimand.

On January 22, 2020, during a telephone call with Committee staff, CBP officials stated that many documents responsive to the Committee’s requests had been compiled, but they refused to say if or when those materials would be produced.

Two days later, on January 24, 2020, CBP announced that Rodney Scott will replace Carla Provost as Chief of the Border Patrol.  According to press reports, both Mr. Scott and Ms. Provost were members of the “I’m 10-15” Facebook group.  Yet, CBP refused to provide any documents regarding their actions or make either of them available for interviews requested by the Committee.  

“To date, CBP has not produced any information regarding a single employee who was involved in the secret Facebook groups and has not made a single witness available for a transcribed interview.  This stonewalling is unacceptable,” Maloney wrote.  “The Committee now insists on full compliance with all of its previous requests, or we will be forced to consider compulsory process.”

The Committee requested documents from CBP in July 2019 and requested transcribed interviews with CBP employees in September 2019.

Click here to read today’s letter.

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116th Congress