Jul 1, 2019

CBP launches probe into secret Facebook page that joked about migrant deaths

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Customs and Border Protection announced Monday it will launch an inspector general investigation into a private Facebook page for 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents, following a ProPublica report revealing that members of the group joked about migrant deaths and posted racist and sexually explicit memes about Latinx members of Congress.

What we know: The group, created in August 2016 and titled "I'm 10-15" in reference to the Border Patrol code for "aliens in custody," describes itself as a space for "funny" and "serious" conversation on members' work policing the nation's borders.

  • In one post, members exchanged quips over a May story on the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who passed away while being held at a facility in Weslaco, Texas. One member posted a GIF of Sesame Street's Elmo saying, "Oh well," while another wrote, "If he dies, he dies."
  • In another post on the planned visit of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Veronica Escobar, to a Clint, Texas, border facility, members encouraged agents to throw a "burrito at one of these b**ches" and referred to them as "hoes" and "scum buckets."
  • Two other posts showed false, grotesque depictions of Ocasio-Cortez being forced to perform sexual acts.

What they're saying:

  • U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost: "These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable."
  • Ocasio-Cortez: "9,500 CBP officers sharing memes about dead migrants and discussing violence and sexual misconduct towards members of Congress. How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?"

The big picture: CBP has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks as reports of inhumane living conditions for migrant children in border facilities have elevated the issue. Last month, acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders resigned.

  • Members of Congress visited border facilities in El Paso, Texas, on Monday. Ocasio-Cortez said that she found migrant women being forced to drink water out of toilets at one of the facilities. She plans to visit another facility in Clint, Texas, where lawyers last month found migrant children being kept in dangerous and unsanitary.
  • "I see why CBP officers were being so physically & sexually threatening towards me," the New York congresswoman wrote on Twitter. "Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress."

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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