Mayorkas puts border agents accused of whipping migrants ‘on desk duty’


Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed Wednesday that Border Patrol agents accused of whipping migrants to prevent them from crossing the US border have been assigned to desk duty — while the incident is investigated with “tremendous speed and with tremendous force.”

Mayorkas addressed the images of the agents in Del Rio, Texas, which he said “correctly and necessarily were met with our nation’s horror,” while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill.

“They do not reflect who we are as a country, nor do we think they reflect who the United States custom border protection is,” he said.

Mayorkas said the agency is investigating the images, which appeared to show agents using whips to prevent Haitian migrants from crossing the Rio Grande to reach an encampment set up under a Texas bridge. He said that the probe is being conducted with “tremendous speed and with tremendous force,” and the findings would be available in “days, not weeks.”

U.S. Border Patrol agents deter Haitians from returning to the U.S. on the bank of the Rio Grande after migrants crossed back to Mexico for food and water.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the alleged abusive behavior of border patrol agents on migrants “do not reflect who we are as a country.”
Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times/USA Today Network/Sipa USA
A U.S. border patrol officer yanks the shirt of a migrant attempting to cross through the US border at Ciudad Acuna, Mexico on September 19, 2021.
A US border patrol officer yanks the shirt of a migrant attempting to cross the border at Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on Sept. 19, 2021.
REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File

“I have ordered an investigation to be conducted of the events that are captured in those images,” he said. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the agents have been prohibited from interacting with migrants, he said.

“We have ensured that the individuals during the pendency of the investigation are not conducting law enforcement duties to interact with migrants, but rather are conducting only administrative duties,” he said.

A border patrol agent on horseback stops a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021.
A border patrol agent on horseback stops a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021.
PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images
A group of border patrol officers on horseback surrounds migrants crossing the Rio Grande river near the International Bridge between Mexico and the US in Del Rio, Texas.
A group of border patrol officers on horseback surrounds migrants crossing the Rio Grande river near the International Bridge between Mexico and the US in Del Rio, Texas.
REUTERS/Go Nakamura/File

Mayorkas previously denied that whips were used to keep migrants on the Mexico side of the river, claiming that agents use long reins to control their horses.

Meanwhile, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz has blamed the difficulty of distinguishing migrants from smugglers as people move back and forth near the river.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.