Biden administration stops Border Patrol using horses in Del Rio amid Dem outrage
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The Biden administration is prohibiting Border Patrol agents from using horses in the Del Rio sector amid Democratic outrage over images that lawmakers falsely claimed showed agents using “whips” to stop Haitian migrants getting into the U.S.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Thursday that the images, which involve a Border Patrol agent grabbing one of the migrant’s shirts, are “horrible and horrific” and noted that an investigation is ongoing.
Sept. 19, 2021: U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)
“I can also convey to you that [DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] also conveyed to civil rights leaders earlier this morning that we would no longer be using horses in Del Rio,” she said.
The revelation comes on the fourth day of controversy related to the false claims that agents used “whips” against Haitian migrants on Sunday – a claim that was initially debunked by Mayorkas and Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz on Monday, who noted that agents were wielding long reins to control their horses in difficult riverines.
Other Border Patrol sources have noted that agents will spin or twirl their reins in order to move the horse forward as a signal to the horse. So far no images have been presented of migrants being hit by the reins.
However, as the White House condemned the images, by Tuesday Mayorkas had changed his stance.
“I was horrified by what I saw,” Mayorkas told CNN. “I’m going to let the investigation run its course. But the pictures that I observed troubled me profoundly. That defies all of the values that we seek to instill in our people.”
On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris said she supported an investigation and was “deeply troubled” by the allegations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decried “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol—including the use of whips.”
The agents involved have since been moved to administrative duty.
The narrative that the agents used “whips” has continued to gather steam among activists and left-wing Democrats, who have then infused a racial narrative into the mix, given that the Haitians are Black.
“What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years,” Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said this week. “What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery … cowboys with their reins, again, whipping black people.”
As those claimed to continue to move forward, without evidence, agents expressed anger to Fox News about the move, which they said will make them less safe.
“It will make patrolling extremely difficult along with security. This is insane. The agents did nothing wrong,” one agent told Fox.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Peter Hasson contributed to this report.
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