Washington, DC – President Joe Biden promised on Friday to hold accountable the U.S. Border Patrol agents featured in videos using their reins while riding their horses to patrol the U.S. border in Del Rio, Texas as thousands of Haitian migrants tried to illegally enter the country.
President Biden has continued to push the false narrative that border patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants with their reins even though even the photographer who filmed the controversial video has said that is not what happened.
“It’s horrible what you saw,” President Biden told reporters at a press briefing on Sept. 24, according to CNBC. “To see people like they did, with horses, running them over, people being strapped, it’s outrageous.”
“I promise you, those people will pay,” the President continued. “There is an investigation underway right now and there will be consequences.”
Vice President Kamala Harris has also condemned federal agents from doing their jobs to protect the border with Mexico, CNBC reported.
“As we all know it evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people of our country, has been used against African Americans during times of slavery,” Vice President Harris said.
“There needs to be consequences and accountability. Human beings should not be treated that way,” she added.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas initially said he supported the border patrol agents struggling to stop the influx of illegal immigrants, FOX News reported.
Mayorkas told reporters that the images being circulated depicted the reins on the horses, not whips, CNN reported.
But under extreme pressure from Democrats, the Homeland Security secretary changed his tune the next day.
“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.”
He told an outraged congressional committee that the border patrol agents featured in the videos of the altercation with the Haitian migrants had been taken off the front lines, FOX News reported.
Mayorkas said the agents had been put on desk duty pending an investigation into the incident.
An administration official argued that nothing has been done to penalize the accused border patrol agents because they were not stripped of their badges, guns, or police powers, FOX News reported.
The official complained that the only change was that the agents were just caring for their horses rather than patrolling with them.
“Either you are riding the horse or taking care of the horse, and that is what they’re doing for the last few days… looking after the horses,” the official told FOX news.
DHS temporarily suspended the use of mounted patrols in Del Rio on Sept. 23, CNN reported.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz has backed his mounted agents and repeatedly tried to explain to officials and the media that there were no whips used on migrants and that long reins are used to control the horses.
Chief Ruiz met with multiple congressional committees, including the Congressional Black Caucus, to answer questions about the incident and his agency’s policies, FOX News reported.
An official told FOX News that despite all the angry rhetoric from the nation’s capital, it’s unlikely the border patrol agents will face grave consequences because it appeared they had been doing their jobs.
The source said it was the first time the mounted units had been assigned to patrol the bridge at Del Rio and they were responding to a call for help from other agents during the migrant surge, FOX News reported.
“They did their job,” the official said.
A source with inside information on the investigation into the incident told FOX News that U.S. Department of Justice investigators were looking into potential civil rights violations by the border patrol agents since it didn’t appear they would be able to prosecute them for violating agency policy.
A senior White House official told FOX News that the Biden administration thought the mounted border patrol officers who used their reins to drive their horses should face a suspension of at least a few days with pay.
Chief Ortiz is expected to fight any attempt to fire any of the agents in connection with the incident.