Following outrage over photos and false claims that Border Patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants at the border, the Biden Administration has prohibited the agents from using horses in the Del Rio area.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the photos are “horrible and horrific”. One image showing an officer grabbing a migrant by the shirt has sparked outrage around the country. Psaki also mentioned that an investigation is underway.
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.Jen Psaki
The controversy started Sunday when false claims were spread that Border Patrol agents were riding horses and whipping migrants. Mayorkas and Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz explained Monday that the “whips” were long reigns used to control the horses in difficult areas.
Shortly after that statement, Mayorkas switched his stance on the issue. He later told CNN that he was “horrified” and said “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”.
Chuck Schumer and Maxine Waters are just two of the many who commented on the photos. Schumer said “images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol—including the use of whips”.
Waters compared the situation to slavery, saying “What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery … cowboys with their reins, again, whipping black people”.
Many agents have expressed the difficulty they will now face without the use of horses. One agent told Fox News, “It will make patrolling extremely difficult along with security. This is insane. The agents did nothing wrong”.