DHS to investigate "aggressive" Border Patrol enforcement

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Over the past several days we’ve learned that the Biden administration has finally found one group of illegal migrants that it won’t welcome into the country with open arms. That would be the Haitians who have been congregating by the thousands under an overpass near Del Rio, Texas. As we previously discussed, Texas law enforcement officers were teaming up with CBP and ICE agents to seal the border and drive some of the migrants attempting to wade across the river back into Mexico. As it turns out, in true Texas style, some of the agents were pursuing the migrants on horseback and forcing them back across the border. When footage of this activity surfaced, that was apparently a bridge too far (pun intended) for someone at DHS. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is now sending personnel to the border to investigate these activities and ensure that nobody is roughing up the Haitians excessively. (CBS News)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday pledged to “swiftly” conduct an investigation into what it called “extremely troubling” footage of Border Patrol agents on horseback aggressively dispersing Haitian migrants, saying the internal probe could lead to disciplinary actions.

“The Department of Homeland Security does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody and we take these allegations very seriously,” a department spokesperson said. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter and has alerted the DHS Office of Inspector General.”

Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also directed department personnel to deploy to Del Rio, Texas to ensure that border officials there carry out their duties “consistent with applicable policies and training and the Department’s values.”

I’m not sure how the use of horses qualifies as somehow being more “aggressive” than pursuing them in vehicles, but the terrain under that overpass and along the border looks pretty uneven. Horses are probably far more suited to that environment than any sort of four-wheel-drive vehicle. There were additional reports of what would probably legitimately qualify as abusive behavior if they are confirmed. One witness claimed that agents were beating the migrants with whips. Mayorkas is denying that charge thus far, but the El Paso Times has photos and video of riders holding whips and lassos, waving them around. That’s not the same as actually beating someone, but if it’s not standard-issue equipment it would merit an investigation, I suppose.

What’s curious to me about this situation is the fact that I only found out about it because an online CBS report popped up in my news feed this morning. We have CNN on in the background at my house (muted) for most of the day and I didn’t see a mention of the story until a brief segment this morning. In fact, the Biden administration has done its best to downplay the entire border crisis thus far and much of the MSM has attempted to oblige them as much as possible.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, I”ll simply ask the same question that seems to keep coming up. Can you imagine what the media response to these reports would be if it was the Trump administration in charge? Particularly if the claims of whips and lassos being used on migrants turn out to be true, we would be seeing reporters literally carrying torches and pitchforks onto the set. You remember all of the outrage over the “kids in cages” stories, right? (By the way, that is still happening every single day on Biden’s watch and in greater numbers, but it’s apparently a “local news” story now.)

We’ve already heard the reports of how Biden’s aides are trying to steer the media conversation and engage in a “pivot” away from a cavalcade of bad headlines. And they’re getting plenty of help from the press in the effort to make that pivot happen. Just look at how much coverage the January 6 protest received, despite only a few dozen protesters actually showing up. They’ll bite on anything if they can attach Trump’s name to it somehow. But one would imagine that roughnecks on horseback with whips would generate a bit more outrage if there was any consistency in the industry, no?