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Border agents’ ‘whipping’ investigation still open months after quick probe promised

Border agents whipping investigation still open months after quick probe


Six months after the Biden administration promised an investigation that would last “days, not weeks” into claims Border Patrol agents used whips on Haitian migrants, there is no sign that any probe is wrapping up.

The Department of Homeland Security told The Post Tuesday that it “will share the result of the investigation once it is complete and provide updates, as available, consistent with the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and individuals’ privacy.” 

The most recent update in the investigation was shared in November, when it was revealed that DHS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) declined to investigate the allegations. Instead, the OIG referred the issue to Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). 

At the time, DHS revealed the CBP office was reviewing videos and photos as well as interviewing witnesses, employees and agency leadership related to the investigation. 

“OPR has followed customary process in its investigation of this matter,” the statement from DHS read at the time. “Once complete, the results of the investigation will be provided to CBP management to determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate and, if so, the specific discipline to be imposed.” 

US Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021.
AP Photo/Felix Marquez
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officer attempts to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.
The Department of Homeland Security is still investigating the alleged incidents.
AP Photo/Felix Marquez

It’s unclear whether OPR has finished its review of documents or interviews. CBP did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment. 

The investigation stems from claims by immigration activists and Democratic politicians that multiple Border Patrol agents on horseback used split reins to “whip” Haitian migrants as they attempted to cross into the US near Del Rio, Texas, in September.

While images of the incident caused outrage on social media, some witnesses have defended the agents’ actions and said they acted appropriately. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Thousands of Haitian migrants have been arriving to Del Rio, Texas, as authorities attempt to close the border to stop the flow of migrants.
Witnesses have defended the agents’ actions.
AP Photo/Felix Marquez

“Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses, and that’s kind of when the whole thing happened,” photographer Paul Ratije told local TV station KTSM in the aftermath of the incident.

“I didn’t ever see them whip anybody, with the thing,” he said of the reins. “He was swinging it. But I didn’t see him actually take — whip someone with it. That’s something that can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.” 

Days later, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed the agents involved had been assigned to desk duty for the duration of the probe. He added that the matter was being investigated with “tremendous speed and force” and would be completed within a “matter of days, not weeks.” 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Thousands of Haitian migrants have been arriving to Del Rio, Texas, as authorities attempt to close the border to stop the flow of migrants.
Agents involved in the incident were assigned to desk duty for the duration of the investigation.
AP Photo/Felix Marquez

While President Biden vowed the agents would “pay” for their alleged actions at the time, some have speculated that they will only receive minimal punishment due to lack of evidence. 

It is unclear how much longer the investigation will drag on. In January, one DHS official indicated the department might never release its findings, telling the Washington Examiner that they would make “the administration look terrible.” 

“They essentially convicted the mounted agents based upon a lie, which the investigation after 120 days would surely have revealed,” the official said.



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