After the Facebook group’s existence was made public in 2019, a House committee began investigating the matter despite the Trump administration’s attempts to obstruct it. The report stated that Customs and Border Protection began distributing documents to lawmakers in February, after President Biden was inaugurated.
According to the committee, Customs and Border Protection did not have or implement an adequate social media policy for its employees. But the agency’s Discipline Review Board’s main criticism concerned the agency’s decision to give out lighter discipline than recommended. For the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) conducted it, and a “deciding official” decided on punishment.
Two Customs and Border Protection employees were fired; 43 were suspended without pay; 12 received letters of reprimand; and three received other punishments, such as suspension without pay, according to the report.
For example, a Border Patrol supervisor was recommended for dismissal after he or she posted a CBP video of an immigrant falling off a cliff and dying on Facebook, as well as an obscene comment about a lawmaker. In the end, a 30-day suspension was the only sanction meted out. After an arbitration process, the severity of some of the other penalties was lowered.
C.B.P’s ability to hold agents accountable for their misconduct was weakened, according to the report, because of the agency’s failure to quickly discipline employees after senior leaders learned of the Facebook group.
“It is unacceptable that the vast majority of these agents faced reduced punishment and were allowed to continue working with migrants,” New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat, said in a statement. We are “better than this,” the late Chairman Cummings would tell us at times like this. Mr. Jeffries was referring to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee chairman at the time the Facebook group was first being investigated. Mr. Cummings passed away in the month of October of this year.
For now, it’s unclear whether or not Del Rio’s migrant treatment investigation will proceed in the same manner as the investigation into the treatment of migrants in the city last month.
Additionally, the inspector general of DHS investigated whether senior agency officials were aware of the size of the Facebook group, and found that they weren’t in the vast majority of cases. C.B.P. leaders, on the other hand, did nothing to prevent another incident like this from occurring until the department ordered them to.