One year ago, President Joe Biden falsely accused Del Rio Sector Horse Patrol Unit agents of using horses to run over migrants and of strapping them from horseback. The president refused to apologize to the agents despite his accusations being proven to be untrue.
“To see people treated like they did, horses running them over and people getting strapped, it’s outrageous I promise you those people will pay,” Biden said one year ago. Despite no publicly available evidence to back up his claims, the accusations stuck and the president has not apologized to the agents involved in the incident.
A photographer who took the now-infamous pictures of the horse-mounted Border Patrol agents attempting to control a group of migrants illegally crossing the border during the Haitian migrant crisis in September 2021 stated, almost immediately, that he and his colleagues did not see agents whipping or striking anyone.
“There will be consequences, it’s an embarrassment, but it’s beyond an embarrassment it’s dangerous and wrong,” the president said before any investigation took place.
When the Department of Homeland Security did complete its investigation in April, the investigators determined no wrongdoing occurred, Breitbart Texas reported.
Upon completion of an investigation promised to take only days and not weeks by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus issued the following statement:
The primary goal of this comprehensive investigation was to establish the facts of what happened in Del Rio. The release of this report is a critical step in order to hold our agency accountable for this incident and to help ensure we do better in the future.
Despite the determination that Border Patrol agents did not commit any infractions or violate any laws regarding physical abuse of the Haitian migrants, the agency chose to pursue administrative discipline on those involved for offenses including the use of denigrating and offensive language against the agents involved.
The allegations against the agents occurred on September 19, 2021, near a makeshift outdoor encampment holding roughly 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants at the time. Video and photographs taken by freelance journalist Paul Ratje were widely circulated and sparked initial claims that agents were “whipping” migrants.
In a subsequent news interview, Ratje told a reporter, “I’ve never seen them whip anyone.” Ratje added, “He was swinging [the reins], but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News Digital on Saturday, “Those investigators, they are executive branch employees. Their boss — and when I say their boss, the president of (the) United States, their boss — had already condemned those agents. They had to find something wrong.”
A source, not authorized to speak to the media, told Breitbart Texas the delays in the investigation may have had more to do with avoiding the political fallout of such a quick rush to judgment than the time it took multiple investigative agencies to analyze the evidence and reach a conclusion.
Judd said that despite no wrongdoing, the Border Patrol agents are still feeling the pain caused by the words of President Biden and other Democrat officials.
“We’re still feeling that impact today,” Judd explained in the Fox News Digital interview. “Border Patrol agents are very hesitant to do their jobs, knowing that they could be accused by the most powerful man in the world of a crime.”
“Now, you just have a bunch of agents that are very, very hesitant to go out there and do the best that they possibly can for fear that they’re going to come under investigation, that they’re going to be accused of a crime as well,” the Border Patrol union leader added.
One year later, the president has not apologized or walked back his ill-informed remarks. The White House did not respond to a request from Fox News for a comment on the matter.
Even the New York Times had the decency to issue a correction to their claim that agents used their reins to “strike at running migrants.” In the correction, the Times wrote, “While the agents waved their reins while pushing migrants back into the Rio Grande, The Times has not seen conclusive evidence that migrants were struck with the reins.”
According to a source within CBP with knowledge of the pending administrative disciplinary processes, the agents have returned to full enforcement duties and are in the process of defending themselves against the allegations of misconduct.
Although the investigative report by CBP’s office of professional responsibility showed there were failures to make good decisions at multiple levels of the organization, none of the failures focused on the inaction of DHS Secretary Mayorkas in addressing the more than 30,000 mostly Haitian migrants housed under the Del Rio International Bridge for several weeks before any large-scale assistance to local authorities was provided by the agency.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, the agency was aware of the influx of Haitian migrants and their detention in the makeshift encampment for nearly three weeks
In early September 2021, 500 migrants were detained by DHS at the camp. By September 12, 1,500 were detained. By the end of that same day, 2,000 had arrived. On the 14th, 3,000 were living in squalor below the bridge. By the 15th, 5,000 had arrived without a federal response.
On September 16, the count had risen to 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants. Over the next three days, the count reached nearly 15,000.
Weeks after the crisis began, DHS Secretary Mayorkas visited the region, closed international ports of entry to legitimate trade and travel and brought in additional federal resources to address the crisis. At a press event held in Del Rio, the Secretary told reporters when asked why it took so long for the administration to respond adequately to the situation, “the volume was rather sudden, rather dramatic, rather quick.”
The agency, unlike the individual agents investigated for the alleged whipping of migrants, faced no criticism from the President or Vice President for allowing the migrants to live in squalid conditions for weeks or the cost to local residents incurred by the closure of ports of entry.
Despite the continuous reporting on the matter from both sides of the border since July, the administration’s explanation of events was that it was caught off-guard.
The horse patrol units play an invaluable role in the Border Patrol’s mission to secure the border and save lives. Shortly after the negative comments from Biden and other Democrat leaders, agents assigned to the Laredo Sector’s Horse Patrol Unit saved the life of a migrant who was abandoned by human smugglers on a ranch near Hebbronville, Texas.
Horse-mounted agents in Arizona also utilized their skills to stop a dangerous human smuggling incident in the desert.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.