Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lower the Boom Cbp Officers' Posts Deserve Stiff Punishment

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lower the Boom Cbp Officers' Posts Deserve Stiff Punishment

Article excerpt

While people may disagree on immigration policy, the American public with one voice should condemn the disturbing posts maligning migrants and Latino members of Congress that rogue Border Patrol officers posted as part of an illicit Facebook group.

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is investigating the racist, sexist, sexually explicit and cruel posts exposed by the New York-based news outlet ProPublica. But there is no time for a drawn-out inquiry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection itself must quickly identify those who created the group and made offensive comments - and then it must mete out the stiffest punishment possible.

The agency's reputation, already tainted by reports of poor living conditions in detention centers on the southern border, is on the line. Worse, the offenders' misconduct further inflames a debate over immigration that has torn the nation in two. Their idiocy and bigotry have pushed compromise, solutions, reforms - progress of any kind - further out of reach even as migrants continue to stream into overrun detention centers.

The Facebook group's very name - "I'm 10-15," police speak for alien in custody - is abhorrent. Although people in medicine, law enforcement and many other fields risk becoming desensitized to the people they encounter on the job, the Border Patrol officers' posts are beyond the pale. They include jokes about the migrant deaths that have agonized the nation, with one writing about a 16-year-old, "If he dies, he dies." The youth did, in fact, die.

Members of the group also mocked last week's widely disseminated photo of a man and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande, asking whether the image was fake because the"floaters" looked "clean."

At least one commenter suggested hurling burritos at Latino members of Congress during the group's tour of a detention center, and freshman Rep. …

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