New US Border Patrol chief confirmed 'despite membership of controversial ant-immigrant Facebook group'

Andrew Buncombe
Mr Trump and Mr Scott with images of the border wall prototypes: Getty

Donald Trump has named a new head of the nation’s border agency, despite his reported membership of a controversial private Facebook group that frequently posted anti-immigrant remarks.

The department of homeland security announced it was appointing Rodney Soctt to lead US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency that oversees protection of the nation’s borders.

Under Mr Trump it has been accused by critics of carrying out a number of inhumane activities, including the separation of migrant children from their parents, and detaining people in harsh condition.

The outgoing head, Carla Provost, had been under pressure from politicians such as Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez, after it emerged she as part of a private Facebook group that often posted anti-immigrant messages.

But the new head of the agency, Rodney Scott, a. 27-year veteran of the agency and who helped oversee trials of prototypes Mr Trump’s border wall in his role as chief of the San Diego sector, was also reportedly a member of the Facebook group.

The president visited the sector in 2018, and was photographed with Mr Scott, and imaged of the prototypes.

ProPublica was, last summer, the first to reveal the existence of the private group, in which current and former CBP agents “joked” about migrants’ deaths, and made threatening remarks about Democrats such as Ms Ocasio Cortez, who had accused the agency of running “concentration camps”.

Then The Intercept reported that Ms Provost was a member of the group, something she was obliged before a congressional heading in Washington.

She told the hearing, she had not known she was a member of the group, and had alerted her organisation’s office of professional responsibility, when she did so.

“I am as outraged as everyone else when it comes to the statements that were made on that page,” she said.

The Intercept report said Mr Scott was also a member of the group. The Washington Examiner quoted one CBP official as saying even if he had not posted anything inappropriate, his membership was just as concerning as the of others.

“You had a bunch of agents that were a member ... they went and they removed themselves [when the story broke],” the official said.

“Rodney Scott was the only one that did not remove himself from the Facebook page. His attitude was, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’ His attitude was, ‘Who cares?’ His attitude was, ‘You know what, this is free speech’.”

The CBP did not immediately respond to enquires from The Independent about Mr Scott’s reported membership of the group.

In a statement about his appointment, Mark Moran, the acting commissioner of the CBP, said: “Chief Scott is the absolute embodiment of the border patrol’s motto “Honour First”, and I am confident that under his leadership, the men and women of the CBP will be well served, the laws of this nation will be enforced, and our borders will be secured.”

Read more

‘People actively hate us’: The US border patrol’s morale crisis

US border patrol officer pleads guilty to hitting migrant with truck

Border patrol chief ‘didn’t realise racist Facebook group was racist’

Trump border patrol chief ‘posted in secret anti-migrant group’