Washington, DC – House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-New York) called on the Homeland Security chief to step down last week after it was revealed that he didn’t dispute allegations that Haitian migrants had been whipped by border patrol agents even though he knew it was not true.
Stefanik pointed to a FOX News report on Oct. 11 that showed U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas knew that no migrants had been “whipped” hours before he stood beside President Joe Biden and failed to dispute the allegations the President was making.
“Absolutely, I call for Secretary Mayorkas to resign,” Stefanik said. “He should absolutely resign.
“The fact that he knew that was a blatant lie and smeared Border Patrol officers and then yet stood next to the President of the United States and allowed this character assassination to happen with the all-too-willing mainstream media, which acts like stenographers for the Democrat Party,” she continued.
“Shame on the media,” Stefanik added. “Shame on this administration. Secretary Mayorkas absolutely should resign.”
The congresswoman said the “whipping” scandal is “one of many, many reasons he should resign” and slammed Mayorkas for having “failed to do any aspect of his job,” FOX News reported.
She called the United States’ southern border “the most insecure border in our nation’s history.”
Stefanik said the false scandal created by the allegations was making it harder for Border Patrol to recruit new agents at a time when many were needed, FOX News reported.
“And I represent Border Patrol agents on the northern border who have been transferred over and over again to the southern border,” Stefanik said. “It’s created huge stress for their families. So, he should resign. Shame on him. And we will hold him accountable in the next Congress.”
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, 2020, 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.
Mayorkas initially defended the border patrol agents struggling to stop the influx of illegal immigrants, FOX News reported.
He 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.
In July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that Border Patrol agents accused of “whipping” migrants at the Texas border in July of 2021 will be disciplined for their actions.
CBP officials released the findings of a more than 500-page report on the investigation into the incident on July 8 and said no agents were found to have struck any of the illegal immigrants, ABC News reported.
However, the agency determined that mounted Border Patrol agents had used unnecessary force and profanity-laced threats that they would push the migrants back into the river.
“The report showed there were failures to make good decisions at multiple levels of the organization,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.
“Failures to maintain command and control over Horse Patrol Units, lack of appropriate policies and training, and the overall chaotic nature of the situation at Del Rio at the time contributed to the incident,” Magnus continued. “Several agents engaged in unprofessional or dangerous behavior, including one instance in which an agent used denigrating and offensive language.”
He said CBP would review its disciplinary process and outlined changes – including a clarification of its chain-of-command – that would be coming to the federal law enforcement agency, ABC News reported.
CBP’s Officer of Professional Responsibility referred the findings to federal prosecutors in Texas.
The U.S. Attorney in Texas declined to bring any criminal charges against any of the agents, ABC News reported.
The National Fraternal Order of Police had filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP in June for failing to produce public records associated with the investigation.
The complaint included allegations border patrol agents had been whipping people at the border were quickly proven false but the agents remain on administrative duty pending the conclusion of an investigation that should have cleared and returned them to full duty months ago.
But officials have said that was not the case.
“It took this long because they wanted to delay the inevitable because they knew they didn’t have any legitimate charges and needed time to come up with some nonsense allegations,” National Border Patrol Council Vice President Jon Anfinsen told ABC News. “The agents have due process, so now they will get a chance to respond to the allegations, a deciding official will make the decision, and then we can appeal via arbitration, if necessary.”
Four CBP agents have been on administrative duty since September of 2021.