Carla Provost, who has been chief of the U.S. Border Patrol since August of 2018, was a member of the secret Facebook group that made light of immigrant deaths and posted violent and sexual content aimed at members of Congress.
The existence of the group itself came to light in a July ProPublica report, which found that the 9,500-member group — which was named “I’m 10-15,” in reference to code for “aliens in custody” — frequently posted racist and sexist memes and images that denigrated members of Congress who were critical of U.S. border policy, and that dismissed the deaths of immigrant children. The group was classified as “secret,” meaning that it’s unsearchable on Facebook. ProPublica only learned of the group’s existence after one of its members leaked posts to the outlet.
Some of the memes posted in the secret “I’m 10-15” group targeted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) by implying she was giving oral sex to President Donald Trump and to undocumented immigrants in U.S. custody. In one post, a member of the secret group suggested Border Patrol personnel “throw a 10-15 burrito at one of these bitches,” referring to Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas).
Another post in “I’m 10-15” dismissively referred to 26-year-old Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria — whose drowned corpses were documented by La Jornada in a viral photograph — as “floaters,” and suggested the photo was altered by critics of U.S. border policy.
The news of Carla Provost’s participation in the secret group was first reported by The Intercept‘s Ryan Deveraux, who discovered a thread in which Provost commented on a group member’s post about her being appointed to head the agency. The thread began with a question from the game show Jeopardy! about Provost being appointed as Border Patrol chief.
“Pretty sure everyone can answer this Jeopardy question! Cue Jeopardy music,” wrote one member in the group, which has since been archived under the name “America First X 2.”
“What is picked up supervisor in two years,” one member wrote.
“It was actually 3 years,” Provost responded in the thread. “Hard to turn it down when they offer it to you…..just saying.”
Deveraux clarified that while it was technically possible that someone could have logged into Provost’s account from another device, U.S. Customs and Border Protection “did not dispute” that Provost and other agents engaged with content in the secret “I’m 10-15” group.
The Intercept also reported that in addition to Provost, the outlet “has identified as current or former participants in the secret Facebook group, including chief patrol agents overseeing whole Border Patrol sectors; multiple patrol agents in charge of individual stations; and ranking officials in the Border Patrol’s union, who have enjoyed direct access to President Trump.”
Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has requested the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General to investigate the Border Patrol’s knowledge of its members posting “violent, racist, misogynistic comments and pictures” in the secret group.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.