When Carla Provost was first appointed as acting Chief of the Border Patrol in April of 2017, I admit that a small part of me was happy to finally see a female as the head of my former agency. But I'm not naïve and assumed she would be like many past chiefs, willing to violate their sworn oath to follow the laws and the Constitution of the United States. That is what I knew of the Patrol as an agent, and it is what I know of it now. I wasn't wrong in that. She has proven to be one of Trump's biggest sycophants and a disgrace to what it means to be a federal law enforcement officer.
Chief Provost was officially named as Chief in August of 2018. During her reign, she has ordered her agents to separate families from their children. These families have been held in her custody, by her agents for weeks, sometimes months, in facilities that are designed for temporary holding only. She has willfully violated the Flores Agreement. To date, twenty-eight migrants have died in her detention facilities. Five have been children. Those who survive their detention have suffered physical and mental problems due to unsanitary, inhumane facilities. Her excuse? She was just following orders. Her agents excuses? They were just following her orders.
Then there's the whole Facebook "I'm 10-15" private group of Border Patrol agents that ProPublica discovered. Racist memes showing sexual and physical violence towards migrants as well as a sexual assault meme of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) were commonly posted in this group. At first, Chief Provost stated she was shocked by these posts and that they did not represent the men and women working at the Border Patrol. This, by the way, is a standard response used by all representatives of the Patrol. Shortly thereafter, she admitted to not only being a member of the group, but having posted on it as well. Of course she claimed she had not seen any of the offensive posts and would have done something about it had she known.
So, I cannot say I was surprised to see her testifying before the House Appropriations Committee, where she flat out lied to the Congressional members. In this video, she is asked by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) if she's ever heard of the word "t*nk." She stated that she had when she was a young agent but had not heard it in a long time. That the word was deemed offensive by the Patrol and agents were not to use it.
That, my friends, is a lie. Agents are taught this word and told it is the sound a flashlight makes when you hit a migrant in the head. It is used in the academy and at the stations. Trainees use it and management uses it, even chiefs. Even I admit to having used it. This recent article shows how an agent texted the word before he then ran over a migrant with his service truck. It is so popular that my former classmate from the academy, Special Operations Supervisor Hector Regalado, sold shirts with the word on the front and an image of a flashlight with the added selling point: "T*nk! Yeah you know the sound...no need to explain it. You either know it or you don't!" When asked by Rep. Aguilar if it was an agent selling the shirt, she claimed to not know. Which is odd because Agent Regalado's shirts were linked to Border Patrol pages on Facebook that Provost belonged to.
I have been demanding Chief Provost be terminated or at the very least resign for these and other disgraceful actions. Now members of Congress are also demanding this. As Chief, it is her responsibility to tell politicians that the Border Patrol is to not be used as a political tool. The Chief must always stand firm and refuse to allow her agents to violate the law. When agents do, she must hold them accountable. Talking about following the law, about moral and ethical behavior that is expected of agents is not enough. She must exemplify that and demand it from her agents. She has failed miserably at this.
There is no honor without accountability.