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On September 19, 2021, photographers captured images of Border Patrol agents on horseback patrol trying to prevent illegal aliens from crossing the border near Del Rio, Texas. To any reasonable person, the photos showed Border Patrol agents controlling their horses in rough terrain while trying to prevent the rush of Haitian migrants from getting past them. The only thing "newsworthy" about these photos at the time should have been a visual confirmation of a border crisis driven by eight months of the new administration’s refusal to enforce immigration laws. Instead, the Biden administration jumped to politically convenient yet incorrect conclusions and vilified Border Patrol agents for doing their job.

In lockstep with the mainstream media, the Biden administration immediately amplified a lie that the Border Patrol agents were whipping the illegal aliens. President Joe Biden said, "It’s horrible what you saw. To see people like they did, with horses, running them over, people being strapped, it’s outrageous."  

Vice President Kamala Harris said, "As we all know it evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people of our country, has been used against African Americans during times of slavery." Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas added that the images "troubled me profoundly" and that "one cannot weaponize a horse" against illegal aliens trying to cross the border. This rush to judgment and mischaracterization of the Border Patrol’s actions was disgraceful. The agents themselves and the photographer who snapped the now infamous picture immediately stated that no whipping occurred. The DHS Office of Inspector General immediately refused to take on the case, and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas declined to take the case up for prosecution in March of this year.  

But the story doesn’t end there. The president went even further when he added, "I promise you, those people will pay. There is an investigation underway right now and there will be consequences." Vice President Harris echoed that, "There needs to be consequences and accountability." 

Recently, the result of a 10-month investigation by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility was finally released. The resulting 511-page report fully exonerates the Border Patrol of the whipping hoax, declaring, "There is no evidence that [Border Patrol Agents] involved in this incident struck, intentionally or otherwise, any migrant with their reins." Yet, the agents were faulted with "administrative" violations, including yelling at the illegal aliens to stop and using the wrong radio frequency for communicating with the patrol station. Essentially the Border Patrol is blamed for the unlawful actions of the migrants.

Unfortunately, this assault is not the first or last time for this administration. For months, Border Patrol agents have been asking for effective policies to help end this historic border crisis. Yet month after month, they receive little to no help from their political leadership, and morale is at an all-time low. The current political leadership delivers no real solutions to assist the Border Patrol with their job and doubles down on failed policies that actually make their difficult job even harder. 

What this means in practice is that the administration has sidelined career law enforcement professionals from the decision-making process. Political leadership did not want to hear Border Patrol officials advocate for policies that worked, such as an effective border wall system, the Remain-in-Mexico program, and implementation of our asylum cooperative agreements with countries in Central America. Even the most highly trained law enforcement officers cannot perform at their best in an environment where they are understaffed, overworked, and underappreciated.

Leading a law enforcement agency like the U.S. Border Patrol takes special care and judgment. Politics should never take precedence over upholding and defending the law. We must return to a time when Border Patrol agents feel empowered to do their jobs and have the support of their leadership, regardless of politics. When leaders make law enforcement decisions to placate political agendas, the result is what we are experiencing today — a never-ending assault on the Border Patrol and the fallout that naturally accompanies it.   


Mounted U.S. Border Patrol agents watch Haitian immigrants on the bank of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021, as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. ((Photo by John Moore/Getty Images))

Mounted U.S. Border Patrol agents watch Haitian immigrants on the bank of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021, as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico.

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