Border patrol repeatedly imposed light sentences on officers, findings report
The Trump administration had blocked the House committee investigation, which began in 2019 after the Facebook group was exposed. Customs and border protection began providing documents to lawmakers in February, after President Biden took office, according to the report.
The committee criticized Customs and Border Protection for not having a strong enough social media policy or not doing enough to let its employees know. But his main criticism concerned the agency’s decision to impose a lighter discipline than what had been recommended by its Discipline Review Board. The agency’s Professional Accountability Office conducted the investigations, the review board made recommendations, and a “decision maker” made the final decisions about the sanction.
According to the report, of the 60 employees identified by the Customs Professional Liability and Border Protection Office, two were made redundant; 43 were suspended without pay; 12 received letters of reprimand; and three received other penalties, such as suspension without pay.
In one case, the Discipline Review Board recommended firing a border patrol supervisor who posted a CBP video of a migrant falling off a cliff and dying on the group’s Facebook page, as well as an obscene commentary on a legislator. But in the end, the punishment was a 30-day suspension. Other sentences were reduced after an arbitration process.
The agency’s inability to discipline employees promptly after senior executives learned about the Facebook group, its lack of specific disciplinary guidelines, and the inconsistent sanctions it enforced all weakened CBP’s ability to hold officers accountable. faults, according to the report.
“It is unacceptable that the vast majority of these officers received reduced sentences and were allowed to continue working with migrants,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, said in a statement. “The late President Cummings often reminded us at times like these, ‘We’re better than this! “Mr. Jeffries was referring to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who headed the committee when he began investigating the Facebook group. Mr. Cummings passed away in October 2019.
It was not immediately clear whether the investigation into the treatment of migrants in Del Rio last month would be carried out in a similar fashion, with the review board recommending some disciplinary action and a “decisive official.”
The Department of Homeland Security inspector general conducted a separate investigation to find out whether senior agency officials were aware of the number of employees in the Facebook group and found that this was generally not the case. But the internal watchdog said CBP executives had done nothing to prevent something similar from happening in the future until the department ordered them to do so.