Border Patrol agents are being fired and otherwise disciplined for posting in a private Facebook group. The group included thousands of Border Patrol agents and higher ups. Some Democrats are concerned that penalties for most of the agents who posted in the group have been reduced extensively; only two agents were ultimately fired following an internal investigation. This is unlikely to inspire any more love for the Border Patrol in Washington D.C.
Border Patrol agents punished for posting
The group was named “I’m 10-15,” which refers to the Border Patrol code for illegal immigrants in custody. It caused a scandal when its existence became to the public in 2019.
An official internal review board suggested a mass firing after news reports began to cover questionable content being posted in the group.
In the end, only two agents have been fired; others have been given suspensions without pay or written reprimands as alternative punishments.
One of the two fired agents was punished for what sound to be relatively benign posts, including a certain cartoon frog and a photoshopped image of Joe Biden employing his signature creepy touch pose with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The other agent was fired for posting “doctored image of then-President Donald Trump raping a member of Congress.” Free speech aside, you just can’t post stuff like that, especially if you’re a federal employee. This one should have been fired by the Border Patrol and he was.
For the most part, however, critics appear to be angered by the fact that Border Patrol agents had any private space online to express their thoughts and opinions with each other.
A thankless job
High ranking officials within the Border Patrol have acknowledged that they joined the group so that they could understand what their subordinates were thinking and feeling.
This is undoubtedly useful for any leader who wishes to know what the prevailing mood is amongst the workforce, particularly in such a difficult line of work.
As for the rank and file members, being a Border Patrol agent nowadays must be exceedingly stressful both due to the nature of the job and due to widespread hostility from politicians and segments of the public.
Sharing jokes and unfiltered remarks with peers is hardly an uncommon way of coping with a difficult and stressful work environment.
The fact that only two agents were fired is very telling; clearly the Border Patrol thinks that it will struggle to replace agents in this climate.
Current agents are already struggling to do their job under constant scrutiny from Congress and the White House. Why would anyone else sign up for such a thankless job?