Maloney Calls on Trump Administration to Stop Shielding CBP Officers Who Engaged in Racist and Sexist Facebook Groups

Jan 11, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 11, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter calling on acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) head Mark Morgan to fully comply with the Committee’s subpoena for documents relating to dozens of employees who participated in secret Facebook groups that posted racist, sexually violent, dehumanizing, and abhorrent material.  Since that subpoena expired at the end of last Congress, the Committee warned that a new subpoena would be issued this Congress if CBP continues to refuse to comply.

 

“The Committee remains extremely concerned by the lengths to which the Trump Administration is going—even in its final days—to place the interests of employees who made racist and sexually depraved posts ahead of the wellbeing of the children and families they interact with every day,” Chairwoman Maloney wrote.  “There is no legitimate basis for CBP’s position that Congress may not know the identity of federal employees—paid with taxpayer funds—who engage in abuses for which they are fired, suspended, or otherwise disciplined.”

 

On November 2, 2020, the Committee issued its subpoena requiring CBP to produce by November 13, 2020, documents regarding these employees, their misconduct, and their proposed and final disciplinary measures.  CBP withheld many of the documents and, in documents CBP did produce, applied extensive redactions. 

 

“CBP concealed the identities of employees who were disciplined, the specific abuses they committed, their roles and responsibilities, and other critical information,” Chairwoman Maloney wrote.  “As a result, the Committee is unable to determine who was fired, who was suspended, who had their punishments reduced or eliminated entirely and why, and whether any of these employees continue to work with immigrant children or families.  Although CBP staff offered to revisit these redactions by the end of last year, they did not do so.”

 

On November 13, 2020, CBP sent a two-page letter refusing to produce several categories of documents required under the subpoena.  The letter was accompanied by 13 pages of documents relating to four additional cases, but as with documents produced in the past, the identities of specific employees and their misconduct were redacted.

 

“CBP seems to believe, incorrectly, that CBP may defy a duly authorized subpoena because the Committee may decide at some point in the future to inform the American people about the findings of its investigation,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney.  “CBP’s apparent position—that the Constitution includes a privilege for CBP to withhold documents from Congress merely because CBP fears public disclosure—is without any basis in law.”

 

In preparing the Committee’s previous subpoena, Chairwoman Maloney circulated a memorandum to Committee Members on October 30, 2020, explaining in detail why it had become necessary. 

 

“I urge CBP to halt its obstruction of the Committee’s investigation, reverse its legally baseless position, and produce a complete and unredacted set of all documents by January 22, 2021,” Chairwoman Maloney concluded.  “If CBP fails to do so, the Committee will begin the process to reissue this subpoena and take all additional measures available to it to secure full compliance.”

 

Click here to read today’s letter.

 

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117th Congress