Last Updated on July 8, 2022
The Biden Administration has signaled its intention to punish two border patrol agents who were falsely accused of “whipping” two Haitian migrants last summer. The Daily Caller reported Friday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has considered charging the agents with “poor judgement” and “unsafe conduct” in connection with the incident, though a final decision has yet to be finalized.
Border Patrol previously signaled that it would conduct a formal review of the incident earlier this year.
The encounter involved two Texas Border Patrol agents on horseback and a group of migrants who were on foot. The agents were trying to coral the agents near Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of Haitian migrants gathered under a bridge last summer.
A viral photo of the incident led to accusations that the Border Patrol agents were “whipping” the migrants. Closer examination revealed that they were simply using the horses to direct migrants away from ilegally crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States.
The “whip” turned out to nothing more than horse reins, which were being used by the agents to direct migrants. At no point were any migrants struck with the reins, nor did the agents wield them in a way such an action would even be possible.
Let me help you be more accurate. First photo appears to show Border Patrol using “whip-like cord” on migrant. Second photo of same event shows it’s just the horse reins slinging around and agent is not whipping migrant. pic.twitter.com/wfFB2Dgweg
— Brandon Darby (@brandondarby) September 21, 2021
President Biden condemned the agents shortly after the debunked incident took place.
“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped –- it’s outrageous,” Biden told reporters at the time. “I promise you, those people will pay.”
Vice President Harris also condemned the agents, saying that it reminded her of “times of slavery.”
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General declined to file criminal charges against the agents earlier this year. They instead opted to hand the matter off to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
“You knew or should have known that using your horse to block a noncitizen from exiting the water at the boat ramp created an unsafe situation, particularly for the noncitizen, but also for you and your horse,” the proposed charges read. A final decision could come as soon as Friday, according to a report from The Daily Caller.
Border Patrol union president Brandon Judd accused the Biden administration of carrying out a “political hit job” against the agents ahead of Friday’s press conference.
“Unfortunately, the President made this the spectacle it’s become,” Judd told The New York Post. “If he would have just kept his mouth shut and let the process play out like it should have instead of passing judgment before the facts were in, we wouldn’t be discussing this right now.”