After days of controversy surrounding a false report that border patrol agents on horseback in Texas used whips to drive Haitian migrants away from the border, the Biden administration on Thursday banned the use of horses in Del Rio, Texas.
During the daily White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said images of border patrol agents confronting illegal immigrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande were "horrible and horrific." She told reporters that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke with civil rights leaders Thursday morning and informed them "that we will no longer be using horses in Del Rio."
"That is something, a policy change, that has been made in response," said Psaki.
After initially pushing back on the claims that border agents were whipping migrants, Mayorkas bowed to public pressure and said he was "horrified" by the images and that DHS would launch an investigation to determine what happened.
"One cannot weaponize a horse to aggressively attack a child. That is unacceptable. That is not what our policies and our training require. Please understand, let me be quite clear, that is not acceptable. We will not tolerate mistreatment, and we will address it with full force based on the facts that we learn," Mayorkas said.
Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector use horses obtained from the Bureau of Land Management to secure the border. According to BLM, the horses "enable the Rio Grande Valley Sector to gain better operational control over the border, thus providing greater security to the United States."
"Due to the rugged and remote terrain, the Border Patrol is responsible for securing, horses meet the agency's needs by being capable of working in areas virtually inaccessible to motorized vehicles," an article on the BLM website explains.
And now, the Biden administration has deprived CBP agents in Del Rio, Texas of valuable tool to secure the border because outrage on social media ignited by false reporting apparently dictates administration policy.