The vile comments and memes dehumanizing immigrant children who died in U.S. custody were uncovered by ProPublica.
As if the conditions immigrants are detained in at the border aren't horrifying enough, ProPublica on Monday reported that thousands of Border Patrol agents are part of a secret Facebook group where they mock the plight of the very human beings they are tasked with overseeing at these detention camps — adding insult to injury for the thousands of immigrants simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
The content in the Facebook group is repugnant, targeting not only dead immigrants but also Democratic lawmakers who have visited the detention camps to draw attention to the squalid and unsafe conditions immigrants are being held in.
ProPublica published a screenshot from the Facebook group featuring the heart-wrenching image of the father and his two-year-old daughter drowned in the Rio Grande after trying to cross the border — a haunting image that has sparked an outcry about the Trump administration's border policies.
However, the Border Patrol worker who posted the photo in the group — whose name is blurred — mocked the immigrants depicted in the photo.
"Have y'all ever seen floaters this clean," the person wrote alongside the image. "I'm not trying to be an a$$ but I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS, could this be another edited photo."
ProPublica also highlighted a string of replies on a post discussing the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan teenager in U.S. custody back in May. One member replied with a GIF of the "Sesame Street" character Elmo shrugging his shoulders with the text, "Oh well." Another commented, "If he dies, he dies."
Aside from mocking dead immigrants, Border Patrol workers in the group also posted vulgar and sexist memes about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who has been a vocal opponent about the way immigrants have been treated in U.S. custody.
One person in the group posted a meme of Ocasio-Cortez depicting her giving oral sex at one of the detention camps with the text, "Lucky Illegal Immigrant Glory Hole Special Starring AOC."
A sociologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson told ProPublica that the content on the Facebook group shows that Customs and Border Patrol has "a pervasive culture of cruelty aimed at immigrants."
"This isn't just a few rogue agents or 'bad apples,'" the sociologist, Daniel Martinez, told ProPublica.
While awful, it's not unsurprising. Because for the Trump administration, cruelty is the point.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.