President Biden slammed Border Patrol agents filmed on horseback attempting to stop migrants from crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, saying they would “pay” for their actions.
“It was horrible to see what you saw, to see people treated like they did—horses barely running them over people being strapped,” Biden said at a press conference at the White House on Friday. “It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay.”
Biden added, “There will be consequences. It’s an embarrassment. But beyond an embarrassment is dangerous, it’s wrong.”
Multiple outlets reported that Border Patrol agents used whips to corral Haitian migrants attempting to cross into Texas. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that officers involved in the Sunday incident “were placed on administrative leave and will not be interacting with any migrants.”
However, the agents did not in fact whip any migrants. Photos and video of the incident show the agents wielding long reins and twirling them in the air.
The photographer who took some of the pictures that caused outrage on social media told KTSM, an El Paso NBC affiliate, that he did not see any agents whip migrants.
“Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,” photographer Paul Ratje said. “I didn’t ever see them whip anybody” with the reins, Ratje added, noting that the photos could be “misconstrued.”
Here’s the video pic.twitter.com/itFwZfYN45
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) September 20, 2021
“Agents use their reins for a lot of reasons. Primarily it’s used to steer the horse, but agents will also spin them sometimes to deter people from getting too close to the horse,” a Border Patrol source told Townhall on Monday.
Keeping control of horses “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,” Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said at a Monday press conference. “I’m pretty sure and confident that that’s exactly what was happening.”