President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security is planning to discipline Border Patrol agents who were accused of “whipping” illegal immigrants while on horseback in Del Rio, Texas last year, despite being cleared of wrongdoing. The administration, as well as numerous news outlets, mistakenly identified horse reins as whips at the time.
While the agents will not face any criminal charges, Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin reported on Tuesday that a federal source told him the agents will be punished for “administrative violations.”
“Per federal source, DHS is preparing to discipline multiple horseback Border Patrol agents who were accused of ‘whipping’ Haitian migrants in Del Rio last summer. I’m told DHS will imminently allege ‘administrative violations’, agents will be able to respond @FoxNews,” Melugin tweeted.
It is unclear what “administrative violations” the Border Patrol agents allegedly committed.
“It has been nearly 9 months since this incident took place. The agents have been taken off their normal duties and have not been allowed to have contact w/ migrants since,” Melugin added in a separate tweet. “President Biden assured the public at the time that ‘there will be consequences’ for the agents involved.”
In April, Fox News reported that the agents had been cleared of any wrongdoing and would not face any criminal charges.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki at the time when President Biden was going to apologize to the Border officers.
“The president said that they were whipping people, which would be a criminal offense, and they’re been told they’re not going to be criminally charged, so…,” Doocy said until he was cut off by Psaki.
“And there was an investigation into that and I’ll let the Department of Homeland Security announce any conclusion of that investigation,” Psaki said.
After the incident last year, Biden’s DHS announced it would no longer use horses during Border Patrol operations.
“I can also convey to you that [Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas] also conveyed to civil rights leaders earlier this morning that we would no longer be using horses in Del Rio,” Psaki said in September. “So that is a policy change that has been made in response.”
Reports of agents whipping illegal immigrants were “blatantly false,” Melugin reported at the time.
“The narrative out there right now is that these horseback agents were whipping migrants and that is just blatantly false. First off, these agents don’t have whips. What was seen in those photos is they have what are called split reins. They are long. They are used to control the horse. They’ve got a lot of slack to them,” he tweeted.
“I’ve talked to a lot of these horseback agents. They say they will sometimes spin them like a propeller when they want to surge the horse forward. It’s a signal to the horse that they want it to move forward,” Melugin added.