On Saturday, a Customs and Border Protection employee used an official Twitter account for the agency's West Texas division to promote homophobic and political content.
The organization's commissioner says CPB will deactivate the account, and he has opened an investigation.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection has become aware of unauthorized and inappropriate content that was posted to the @CBPWestTexas Twitter account. CBP will take action to deactivate the account and has referred the matter to the Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate. The tweets do not reflect the values of this administration and our work to rebuild a humane, orderly, and secure immigration system,” the agency said in a statement, El Paso Matters reports.
The Twitter account for the West Texas region of CBP, based in El Paso, retweeted and liked several tweets Saturday by former Trump administration adviser Stephen Miller and other sources criticizing the Biden administration.
Additionally, the person liked a tweet that used a homophobic slur to refer to gay Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
American Immigration Council policy director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick captured the inappropriate Twitter activity and posted screenshots of the account’s activities.
He tweeted, “Looks like the person running @CBPWestTexas forgot to log off of the work account and started using it like their personal account. The “likes” are a dead giveaway—anti-Biden stuff, playground anti-gay insults against Buttigieg, etc... Will likely lead to disciplinary action.”
It is unknown who was tweeting and liking on the agency’s Twitter account at the time of the controversial retweets and likes or whether the employee is based in El Paso.
Commissioner Chris Magnus condemned the agency’s West Texas account for its retweets and likes on his Twitter account.
He wrote, “Totally unacceptable and disappointing that any CBP Twitter account was used to [retweet] offensive, unauthorized content. We’ve removed the content and will deactivate the account. The Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate. This must not happen again.”
Accounts run by government employees usually promote agency programs and initiatives and generally do not engage in political discourse.
Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose district includes El Paso, said the person sharing and liking the tweets shouldn’t work for the government.
“The person running the @CBPWestTexas media account has absolutely no business being in public service. Especially if allowed to carry a gun and a badge,” the congresswoman wrote.
According to the Border Patrol, 60 agents were found guilty of misconduct in October 2021 after participating in a private Facebook group mocking migrants and legislators, the Associated Press reports. Although a disciplinary panel recommended firing 24 agents, only two were terminated.
ProPublica reported in July 2019 that the Facebook group had about 9,500 members.