You have to be a truly dedicated right-wing choad to risk your job by tweeting anti-immigrant and homophobic screeds using an account of an official U.S. federal agency, but one yet-to-be-identified employee of the El Paso, Texas, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) division of the Department of Homeland Security has belatedly discovered that it just might not be the brightest idea that they’ve ever had.
It all began when subscribers to the CBP West Texas Twitter feed found this retweeted gem from former notoriously anti-immigrant White House advisor Stephen Miller in their timeline.
Human rights activist Adam Isacson saw the politically-biased tweet and immediately took the CBP to task for allowing such blatantly prohibited political activities on its official account.
What is up with the @CBPWestTexas Twitter feed right now? This is one of the most egregious examples I’ve ever seen of a US federal law enforcement agency defying elected political leadership in official communications. pic.twitter.com/iON2AmqPqs
— Adam Isacson (@adam_wola) September 10, 2022
Others soon piled on the agency for allowing such obvious propaganda to be disseminated through official channels.
Looks like this has been going on for a while. Here's an anti mask-mandate tweet from last year that the @CBPWestTexas account liked.
Government employees are constitutionally welcome to their own opinions… but are definitely not allowed to tweet them out using a gov account. pic.twitter.com/LFMhWkDuUt
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) September 10, 2022
Luckily, the folks at the CBP’s headquarters were inspired by the unwanted attention that the tweets began to garner and decided to deactivate the offending CBP West Texas Twitter account, issuing a statement condemning the unauthorized content that also included homophobic slurs aimed at Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
“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 their statement.
Chris Magnus, the commissioner of the CBP, also took to his own Twitter account to denounce the unauthorized use of the federal account.
Totally unacceptable and disappointing that any CBP Twitter account was used to R/T 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. pic.twitter.com/O0Vwr3K7nI
— CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus (@CBPChrisMagnus) September 11, 2022
Veronica Escobar (D-TX), the congresswoman representing El Paso, weighed in with a call to dismiss the CBP agent who posted the offending tweets.
— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) September 11, 2022
Rep. Escobar is absolutely right. Government employees have absolutely no business using federal resources to transmit their personal political opinions, particularly ones as heinous as these.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection needs to immediately identify and sanction whoever was behind this misuse of government resources.
Original reporting by Robert Moore at El Paso Matters.