The Biden White House announced Thursday that Border Patrol agents will no longer be allowed to ride horses in the Del Rio sector due to debunked allegations that agents used “whips” to stop Haitian migrants from getting into the U.S.
Viral images of border patrol agents on horseback pursuing Haitian illegal immigrants spurred liberal outrage when many observers—including the entire Democrat-Media Complex—mistook split reins for whips.
The controversy began with the emergence of images showing agents on horseback blocking Haitian migrants from entering the U.S. in a Del Rio riverine, and in one case grabbing onto a migrant’s shirt.
However, some media outlets and Democratic lawmakers misidentified the agents’ split reins, which they use to control the horse, as “whips” and accused the agents of whipping the migrants. Some outlets later qualified their description as “whip-like cords” but many Democrats forged ahead with the claim.
Border Patrol agents on horseback cracking whips and charging into crowds of Haitian asylum seekers in Texas, shouting at them to go back to Mexico — strong reporting from @psskow on the situation in Del Rio/Ciudad Acuña https://t.co/ZVeS6j3gnM
— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) September 19, 2021
The White House has condemned a video of US Border Patrol agents on horseback whipping Haitian migrants.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 21, 2021
“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.”
Maxine Waters: Border patrol agents riding on horseback to control migrants are trying to "take us back to slavery days and worse than that." pic.twitter.com/uLnBQXZX50
— Mike Berg (@MikeKBerg) September 22, 2021
Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz on Monday explained that the agents were wielding long reins to control their horses in difficult riverines.
Other Border Patrol sources told Fox News that agents “will spin or twirl their reins in order to move the horse forward as a signal to the horse.”
Another Border Patrol source told Townhall that agents on horseback move their reins for a lot of different reasons.
“Primarily it’s used to steer the horse, but agents will also spin them sometimes to deter people from getting too close to the horse,” he explained. “If they get too close, the horse can step on them, breaking bones or causing other injuries. Agents also need to maintain control of their reins so they don’t lose control of the horse, which can cause injuries to immigrants, the agents, and the horses.”
The source said, “we are not aware of anyone being struck with the reins.”
Fox News reporter Bill Melugin explained how the reins flop around while agents are riding.
The narrative that mounted Border Patrol agents were whipping migrants is false. They do not have whips. They have split reins to control the horse. They are long & have slack, & flop around while riding. They sometimes spin them like a propeller to signal horse to move forward. pic.twitter.com/oM9KzNZkKA
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 23, 2021
No images have emerged showing Haitians being hit by the reins.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas initially supported the agents, but changed his stance amid the harsh condemnation from the White House and left-wing Democrats.
It appears the administration recognized an opportunity to pander to a core constituency, so pander it did.
Mayorkas told a House Committee that the agents had been taken off the frontlines amid an investigation that he expected to take days, rather than weeks.
“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.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday harshly criticized the Border Patrol agents. alleging that they used “brutal tactics” against illegal Haitians.
Kamala Harris jumped on the bandwagon on Tuesday, claiming to be “deeply troubled” by the images.
“What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible,” Harris told reporters. “And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. But human beings should never be treated that way. And I’m deeply troubled about it. And I’ll also be talking to Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas about it today.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decried “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol—including the use of whips.”
During Thursday’s press briefing, Psaki said that it was important to “convey” that the images are “horrible and horrific” and that an investigation is ongoing.
“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.
👀 Based on a debunked, false narrative about mounted Border Patrol agents supposedly using whips on illegal aliens, Psaki says agents are now banned from using horses in #DelRio.
This administration excels at taking tools away from law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/DUTKP53H3j
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) September 23, 2021
A Border Patrol agent told Fox News “It will make patrolling extremely difficult, along with security. This is insane. The agents did nothing wrong. It makes me furious. Horses have been used since before the official founding of the Border Patrol.”
Former New York City police officer John Cardillo fumed on Twitter that the Regime had just suspended “one of the most effective units in law enforcement history.” He added: “Every decision they make is moronic and done through the lenses of dementia and far left radicalism.”
These morons just suspended the Border Patrol mounted unit.
Arguably one of the most effective units in US law enforcement history.
Every decision they make is moronic and done through the lenses of dementia and far left radicalism.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) September 23, 2021
“Psaki is a liar about @CBP U.S. [Customs and Border Protection],” Tweeted Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).
“This is why Tx is going to have to take over the border. It’s inevitable. We should plan for it. Federal leadership are sick & twisted, anti-American, race-baiting cowards like @SecMayorkas who threw own agents under bus & refuse to #securetheborder.”
According to DHS, 4,050 migrants remain in camp, and “thousands” have returned to Mexico, although the department has no firm number on how many have been deported. Thousands more have reportedly been released into the United States.