Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has joined other Republicans in calling for prominent Democrats, including the president, to apologize to four border patrol agents who were cleared of whipping migrants.
In September 2021, four border patrol agents were falsely accused of whipping a group of Haitian migrants at the southern border.
A 500-page report released by the Customs and Border Protection this week found that the narrative surrounding the whipping allegations that were perpetuated by the White House was false.
During an appearance on ‘Hannity’ on Friday, Paxton said: ‘There’s no doubt this was political. And it’s really unfortunate for these border agents who’ve given their lives to securing our border and defending Americans.’
The attorney general continued: ‘And here they are being punished, they should be rewarded. They should be taken care of. Instead, their careers may be ruined, and they’ve been humiliated in front of the entire American public.’
Paxton told Greg Jarrett, who was standing in for Sean Hannity: ‘And I just think it’s really wrong. I would expect instead that Joe Biden and some of these political leaders should come out and actually apologize to these guys for what they’ve been through.’
The images of agents on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas, sparked a humanitarian outcry and a strong response from Biden calling for the officers to ‘pay’ for their treatment of Haitians.
On Facebook, House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy also called for Democrats to apologize.
McCarthy said in a statement: ‘Our brave Border Patrol agents work to secure our border every day despite the fact that President Biden makes their mission more difficult and more dangerous because of his unconscionable support for a wide-open southern border.’
Paxton told Greg Jarrett: ‘I would expect instead that Joe Biden and some of these political leaders should come out and actually apologize to these guys for what they’ve been through’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that the border patrol agents were ‘smeared by President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their allies in the media – and they should all apologize to these Border Patrol agents.’ While Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzalez weighed in saying: ‘I will not stand for a politicized narrative against our Border Patrol agents’
He continued: ‘Their reputation was smeared by President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their allies in the media – and they should all apologize to these Border Patrol agents.’
The statement went on: ‘These agents were cleared of criminal wrongdoing months ago, but instead of admitting they were wrong, the Biden administration is doubling down on baselessly attacking these agents to perpetuate their open-border agenda.’
‘Rather than disparage the men and women tasked with protecting our border, President Biden should give them the tools they need and deserve to secure our southern border once and for all.’
Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzalez also weighed in saying: ‘I will not stand for a politicized narrative against our Border Patrol agents. Instead of pursuing political games, it is critical that this Administration focuses on the most important task at hand-securing our southern border.’
A 500-page report released by Customs and Border Protection on Friday said the agents acted unprofessionally, unsafely and used unnecessary force – but concluded they did not strike the migrants with their reins.
The results of the investigation came as the US still grapples with a surge in migrants across the border and reports of law enforcement morale declining.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said the disciplinary investigation is still ongoing but would not release details of any action taken. He also did not identify the employees involved.
The report outlined the agents’ ‘unprofessional or dangerous behavior’ towards Haitians, including yelling profanity and insults related to a migrant’s national origin.
It also said agents used unnecessary force against migrants trying to reenter the United States with food.
It found one agent on horseback grabbed a man and spun him around.
Customs and Border Protection has referred four horseback agents falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants in September 2021 for disciplinary action
The images taken in September 2021 sparked a firestorm and a strong response from Biden calling for them to ‘pay’ for their treatment of Haitians
According to the report, one agent ‘acted in an unsafe manner by pursuing the individual he had yelled at along the river’s edge, forcing his horse to narrowly maneuver around a small child.’
The incident originated, the report found, when Texas’ Department of Public Security (DPS) officials also on the scene asked for assistance from the Border Patrol. A lack of clear command led the agents to inappropriately follow DPS instructions to prevent migrants from crossing the river back into the United States.
“The report showed there were failures to make good decisions at multiple levels of the organization,” Magnus said in a statement on Friday.
‘Failures to maintain command and control over Horse Patrol Units, lack of appropriate policies and training, and the overall chaotic nature of the situation at Del Rio at the time contributed to the incident.’
Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said Friday that the report is proof that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ‘doesn’t deserve to lead’ his department.
‘Today we learned what we knew all along – the accused Border Patrol Agents in Del Rio did nothing wrong,’ Roy said in a statement to the press.
‘But this administration can’t miss a chance to destroy the morale of our overrun, hardworking Border Patrol for political gain, and it issued disciplinary action anyway to finish off one of the most despicable displays of leadership seen from any cabinet secretary.’
Migrants were frequently crossing into Mexico to bring back food and supplies that were scarce in the makeshift encampment under a bridge.
Initial reports said the migrants were being ‘whipped’ – but the claim was quickly debunked.
It was later clarified that the agents were swirling their long reins, to control the horses, and were not actually raising the leather straps to beat the migrants.
Up to 15,000 migrants set up camp under and around the Del Rio International Bridge, using a dam area to cross between the Mexico and US side of the border.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said the disciplinary investigation is still ongoing, would not release details of any action taken and did not identify the employees involved
Up to 15,000 migrants set up camp under and around the Del Rio International Bridge, using a dam area to cross between the Mexico and US side of the border
The camp’s squalid and bare conditions prompted outrage from Republican lawmakers and progressive activist groups alike.
About 8,000 were rapidly expelled in the weeks that followed under a COVID-era order known as Title 42.
In November the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declined to press criminal charges against the officers.
Mayorkas said in September that the investigation would be completed in “days, not weeks”.
But since then the Border Patrol’s Office of Personnel Responsibility has been reviewing photographs and interviewing witnesses and agents.
On Thursday, Republican Governor Greg Abbott said he had authorized the Texas National Guard and state authorities to ‘apprehend’ migrants and transport them to the border with Mexico.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the apprehension of migrants is a federal issue and accused Abbott of meddling.
Magnus said in an earlier statement that the ‘hateful images’ on the ‘deeply offensive’ coins angered him and distracted him from the essential work of the Border Patrol.