News & Politics

Border Patrol Agents Claimed to Have Shamed Migrant by Making Him Hold 'I Like Men' Sign

In this Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent walks with suspected immigrants caught entering the country illegally along the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

On July 4, CNN reported that it has obtained emails of a Border Patrol agent who witnessed another agent allegedly give a handwritten note to a male Honduran migrant, which read, “I like men,” in Spanish. According to the emails, that same agent instructed the migrant to walk in front of a group of other apprehended migrants with that note.

These events were claimed to have occurred on March 5 at the El Paso Processing Center and the emails were sent by the witnessing agent to the agent’s supervisor.

The emails add that the witnessing agent, who was on-duty, told the agent who was responsible for writing the note and another agent who was laughing that their behavior was unprofessional. Neither agent allegedly responded.

The witnessing agent then is said to have taken the note away from the Honduran migrant after seeing him upset and provided him another one without the derogatory phrase.

The witnessing agent claims to have taken the note to the senior agent in charge that night, but the senior agent did not take any action. He adds that two senior Border Patrol agents and five other agents saw the alleged incident occur.

In response to these allegations, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stated, “I am forwarding to the Office of Professional Responsibility, the office charged with looking into these allegations.”

This controversy adds on to the current investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, which is examining a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents that mocked the death of a 16-year-old detained Guatemalan migrant, made hateful statements about throwing burritos at Latina congresswomen, and shared obscene images of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Politico reports that Border Patrol may even have known about the existence of this group as long ago as 2016, according to a current Homeland Security official.

Regardless of whether Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan decides to investigate and verify this incident, Border Patrol continues to have its public image come under threat.