Rep. Wild Calls for Resignation of Carla Provost, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) led a letter, signed by 33 Members of Congress, to Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin McAleenan requesting the immediate resignation of Carla Provost, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, citing the loss of the public’s confidence that she can faithfully execute the responsibilities of her position without bias or prejudice.
The letter highlighted Chief Provost’s participation in a secret Facebook group used by employees of the U.S. Border Patrol to share grossly inappropriate commentary about both detainees and sitting Members of Congress. The Representatives also expressed great concern that this callous content impugns the character of the U.S. Border Patrol as a whole.
“The harmful and offensive rhetoric and actions toward immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers – as well as Members of Congress – expressed in the Facebook group is appalling, and Ms. Provost’s participation makes her unfit to lead this agency,” Wild said. “This ugly language is heartbreaking and an affront to our nation’s fundamental values of decency, dignity, and respect for human rights. These Facebook posts suggest that the conditions at these detention centers, including limited access to basic hygienic needs like showers and toothpaste, are not only due to inadequate funding, but a level of malice in leadership that has no place in the policing of our borders.”
In July, Provost testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security regarding the humanitarian crisis at the southwest border. In this testimony, Provost expressed surprise about the Facebook group and promised that any employees participating would be disciplined for their actions. Provost later admitted that she had been a member of the Facebook group for months and did not provide an explanation as to why she had not alerted DHS of the Facebook group upon its discovery. The House Oversight and Reform Committee has since requested documents related to the Facebook posts by Customs and Border Protection officers.
“Atrocious commentary that stokes racist and xenophobic tropes have no place in private, much less in public service,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter. “The Facebook group generated content that joked about migrant deaths and throwing food at Members of Congress, and even went so far as to make sexually violent and threatening statements about female members of Congress who came to the border to inspect the conditions at detention centers. For the avoidance of any doubt, the callousness displayed in the Facebook group is matched only by the callous treatment of children detainees under Ms. Provost’s watch.”
In addition to Wild, the letter is signed by Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Karen Bass (CA-37), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Nanette Diaz Barragan (CA-44), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Bobby Rush (IL-01) , Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Andy Levin (MI-09), Ben Ray Lujan (NW-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Deb Haaland (NW-01), Darren Soto (FL-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Dwight Evans (PA-03).