House Oversight Condemns Trump’s CBP For Obstruction

0
433

Here’s another item for the long list of investigations in which the Trump administration has adamantly refused to comply with Congressional investigative demands. Now, the House Oversight Committee has revealed that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has refused across the board to comply with any of their attempts to investigate a thousands of members-strong Facebook group that included many agents and featured violent racist commentary against migrants, among other obscenities. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s chairing the committee at present, said that “compulsory process” — meaning something like a subpoena and/or court battle — could be an option.

Oversight requested the material in question in July of last year — many months ago. Now, Maloney shares:

‘To date, CBP has not produced any information regarding a single employee who was involved in the secret Facebook groups and has not made a single witness available for a transcribed interview. This stonewalling is unacceptable. The Committee now insists on full compliance with all of its previous requests, or we will be forced to consider compulsory process.’

On its own time, CBP has reportedly investigated 62 current agents for involvement in the group and supposedly fired several. An internal review apparently concluded with the recommended firing of seven agents and disciplinary action for twenty — although there were around 9,500 members in the Facebook group at the time of its discovery. Condemnations of the behavior from then-agency head Carla Provost rang remarkably hollow, because she was also a member of the group. Now, Rodney Scott leads the agency, and House Dems have been seeking answers about his connections to the Facebook group as well.

Obviously, there are clear dangers inherent in officials’ involvement with the kind of violently racist rhetoric that was in the group. Examples included direct mockery of the death of a teenage migrant while they were in U.S. custody — and why should anyone trust someone who takes that situation lightly to appropriately care for any of the individuals they come in contact with on the job? These are the people deciding to keep migrants in real-world, widely circulated, dangerously squalid conditions.

Maloney notes:

‘CBP has been obstructing the committee’s investigation by making baseless and shifting legal claims in order to avoid producing critical documents and witnesses. As a result, the Committee has been unable to determine whether CBP employees who made inappropriate and threatening comments are still on the job, potentially putting children, immigrants and fellow CBP employees at risk.’

The rhetoric that was in the Facebook group in question matches up with the president’s own behavior. At a campaign rally in Florida, he laughed it off when someone from the crowd shouted that migrants should be shot. On his own time, he’s consistently parroted violent and false rhetoric against migrants, insisting, for instance, that they’re carrying out an “invasion” of the U.S. That same lie about a migrant “invasion” appeared in the manifesto of a mass shooter that targeted an El Paso Walmart with the explicit intention of killing immigrants, and even after that incident, Trump refused to walk back his own comments.