Fact Check: Dems and White House express outrage over Border Patrol ‘whipping’ migrants, but it’s not true

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DEL RIO, TX – Democrats once again jumped at the opportunity to attack law enforcement after Border Patrol agents were reportedly filmed using whips on Haitian migrants at the southern border. However, those accusations were later proven false.

Video released by Al Jazeera and Reuters allegedly depicted mounted Border Patrol agents trying to block Haitian migrants trying to return to a makeshift camp at the Del Rio International Bridge after returning to Mexico briefly.  It was later learned the “whips” were reins used to steer the horses.

Over 10,000 Haitian migrants are waiting for the chance to open an asylum claim in the United States within this makeshift camp, and their presence is becoming a humanitarian crisis as the Biden administration struggles to control the surge.

Democrats expressed outrage over the images, claiming the long reins were actually whips being used on the migrants. Despite explanations from the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Chief of the Border Patrol, Democrats attacked the White House.

The claims of whipping prompted a defensive response from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday:

“I’ve seen some of the footage. I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don’t have additional details, and certainly I don’t have additional context.

Not waiting for facts, Psaki added:

“I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it’s acceptable or appropriate.”

Vice President Kamala Harris joined the chorus of Democrats jumping on the “facts be damned” bandwagon. Harris told reporters on Tuesday:

“What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible. 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.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the treatment of Haitian nationals by U.S. law enforcement “deeply troubling” and “heartbreaking”:

“Reports of the mistreatment of Haitian migrants fleeing violence and devastation from natural disasters are deeply troubling, including the inappropriate use of what appear to be whips by Border Patrol officers on horseback to intimidate migrants.”

The problem with all the Democrats’ outrage and the White House’s defensive reaction is that the claims of whipping were completely false.

The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) tweeted a strong defense of the Border Patrol agents with a hint of sarcasm to chastise the Democrats for making the false claims without gathering the facts.

On their Facebook page, the FOP wrote:

“For all you Social Media Warriors out there: these are NOT whips. And no, Border Patrol agents are NOT ‘whipping’ people.

“They are REINS… Stay with us here, like a steering wheel is used to drive a car, the reins are used to ‘drive’ the horse.

“Thanks for coming to our TED talk.”

The FOP also posted photographs of the long reins hanging from the horses as the Border Patrol struggled to control Haitians trying to re-enter the country illegally.

Secretary Mayorkas held a news conference near the Del Rio International Bridge on Monday defending the use of mounted Border Patrol agents, but said an investigation would be launched anyway:

“The footage is extremely troubling, and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken…

“But we are going to investigate the facts to ensure that the situation is as we understand it to be, and if it’s anything different we will respond accordingly.”

Ortiz said that mounted Border Patrol agents played an important role in the security response to the crisis at the Del Rio International Bridge. He also explained that the mounted agents were working to secure the bridge to prevent the passage of illegal aliens to and from the United States without proper checks:

“As was witnessed in the video and some of the pictures, the migrants were going back-and-forth. We do not know who are the smugglers or who are the migrants, so it’s important that those Border Patrol agents maintain a level of security for both themselves and for the migrant population.”

Ortiz, an experienced horse rider himself, explained that the long reins help Border Patrol agents control horses and protect migrants:

“(Controlling horses is important ) so we do not get in a position where we injure a migrant as they’re trying to make that treacherous trek across that river is probably more important than anything.

“And I’m pretty sure and confident that that’s exactly what was happening, but we will certainly look into the matter, to make sure that we do not have any activity that could be construed as a response to a law enforcement effort that is unacceptable.”

Answering criticism that Border Patrol agents were swinging the long reins near migrants, Ortiz said:

“You’re assuming facts that have not yet been determined.”

Border Patrol agents reacted with anger and disbelief at the accusations of whipping. One agent told Fox News:

“This whole situation is blowing up and even liberals are turning on this administration. (Harris) is placing blame on agents to deflect because she and Biden are not going to change how they are handling this.”

Another Border patrol agent had more to say about the Democratic claims:

“Just proves what absolute idiots they are. With basic knowledge and two brain cells, anyone knows those agents use split reins. They do use them as a whip, on their horses.

“This helps get a quicker response from the horse to move out when needed, especially when the horse may be hesitant with groups of people or other animals.”

“Again, it is clear that those ‘in charge,’ a term that is disgusting to use, have no clue about our operations and frankly operate by ignorance and unhinged emotions.”

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Border Patrol shuts down all sector checkpoints as border bridge crisis exceeds 10K Haitians

September 18, 2021

 

DEL RIO, TX – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection source said the agency is closing down normal operations at all Del Rio Sector Border patrol highway checkpoints to allow staff to assist with the care, transport, and processing of 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants currently detained under the Del Rio International Bridge.

According to the source, the shutdown began at midnight on Friday and will remain closed until an orderly process can be established to handle the makeshift camp.

As the Biden administration struggled with the massive numbers of migrants crossing the border answering his calls for immigration leniency, over 10,000 Haitian migrants have assembled under and around the bridge.

Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, the county’s top elected official and whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio, said the vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants assembled at the bridge were Haitian.

Some Haitians have built cave-like shelters in the reeds along the river, while others have gathered under the bridge for shelter. Owens said trash is discarded in ten-foot-wide piles and at least two women have given birth at the camp.

One of the women tested positive for COVID-19 after being transported to a local hospital.

Checkpoints are normally an important part of the defense of the United States at the border.

Citizenship inspections, K-9s trained to detect concealed humans and narcotics, non-intrusive backscatter X-ray inspections of vehicles to scan for concealed cargo are all utilized at the border checkpoints.

Another concern with shutting down checkpoints is the interruption in the use of radiation detection equipment to look for radioactive materials entering from the border, a terrorism safeguard that will not be fully operational during the shutdown.

According to an exclusive report by Breitbart News, three checkpoints will be closed to allow full staffing reallocation to the Haitian bridge crisis. Two more will be closed for vehicle inspections but will still be used to process and detain migrants.

The CBP source said shutting down the checkpoints may mean smugglers will not need to use backroads or foot trails to bypass the main roads because the checkpoints will be shut down.

He claimed that three checkpoints would be closed to allow all staff to reallocate to the camp. Two others will cease inspections of vehicles, but will still be operating for migrant processing and detention.

The Del Rio Sector’s busiest checkpoint processes at least 25,000 vehicles each week.

The CBP set up portable toilets at the site and said more agents to help handle the growing crisis. Haitians have been crossing a low point in the Rio Grande to cross into the United States. Confusion over Biden’s immigration policies has fueled the rush to cross into the United States.

Many Haitians have been living in Mexico for many years, some since the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. News of Biden’s lax policies and his attempt to suspend Trump era immigration safeguards like Title 42 has caused Haitian migrants to flood across the border in hopes of gaining amnesty.

Guerline Jozef, co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group that was created after the last Haitian migration crisis along the U.S. southern border, said:

“The majority of the people who are at Del Rio are people who have been in Mexico a very long time but in other cities, for example Tijuana.

“There are a lot of rumors that if you go to Del Rio, you might be able to get access, so people just flooded Del Rio.”

 The Federal Aviation Administration has placed a two-week flight restriction over the bridge after area images of the crush of people living in squalid conditions at the makeshift camp landed on television and social media.

The ruling means  news agencies cannot fly drones to capture any images as the crisis worsens. Activists and local officials say the crisis is getting worse, but the administration is trying to block media access.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said President Biden was to blame for the preventable disaster unfolding:

“I am on the ground in Del Rio, Texas tonight. As of this moment, there are 10,503 illegal aliens under the Del Rio International Bridge. This man-made disaster was caused by Joe Biden.”

Randy McGrorty, who heads Catholic Legal Services in Miami, called on the international community to get involved in the crisis, pointing out that Venezuelans, Cubans, and some Central Americans are mixed in with the Haitians:

“Why isn’t the international community responding to what is really turning into a humanitarian crisis?

“I can’t figure it out. There is nothing good about having people living in fields.” 

 

 

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