DHS Secretary ‘Not Concerned’ About ‘Integrity’ of Border Patrol Investigation

By Melanie Arter | September 24, 2021 | 7:03pm EDT
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. on September 24, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. on September 24, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday that he’s not concerned about the integrity of the investigation of the horse-mounted Border Patrol officers accused of whipping Haitian migrants at the border in Del Rio, Texas, despite President Joe Biden saying the migrants had been “strapped.”

As CNSNews.com reported on Friday, Biden promised “there will be consequences” for the horse-mounted Border Patrol agents trying to prevent Haitians from entering the U.S. illegally.  


“But it was horrible what you saw -- to see people treated like they did, horses really running over people being strapped,” the president said.

During the White House press briefing on Friday, which was attended by Mayorkas, Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy pointed to the fact that the photographer who took the pictures in question said he never saw Border Patrol agents whip anyone.

DOOCY: Just to go back please to the images of these mounted Border Patrol officers. You said on Saturday or rather on the 20th, to ensure control of the horse, long reins are used. The person who took these photos of the Border Patrol agents says I’ve never seen them whip anyone so why is the president out there today talking about people being strapped?

MAYORKAS: A: So let me, let me correct the statements in your question if I may. It was on Fri-- if I may. It was on Friday when I was --- actually it was on Monday I believe when I was in Del Rio on the ground, and I made the statements without having seen the images. I saw the images on the flight back, and I made the statement that I did with respect to what those images suggested. 

The horses have long reins, and the image in the photograph that we all saw and that horrified the nation raised serious questions about what all occurred, and of-- as I stated quite clearly, it conjured up images about what occurred in the past. 

Let me finish. There’s also a question of how one uses the horse and how one interacts with individuals with the horse, and so I’m going to let the investigation run its course. I’m not going to interfere with that investigation. The facts will be determined by the investigators, and then the results will be driven by the facts that are determined.

DOOCY: And just to follow up please, before the facts are in, is it helpful to your investigation for the president of the United States to use inflammatory language like people being strapped?

MAYORKAS: Let me just be very clear and repeat what I’ve said. I am not concerned with respect to the integrity of the investigation. We know how to conduct an investigation with integrity. I served as 12 years as a federal prosecutor. There were a great deal of comments in many of the cases that I handled in the public sphere, and I know how to maintain the integrity of an investigation, and this investigation will have integrity.

Fox News reported Friday that photographer Paul Ratje took the photos at the center of the controversy.

"I’ve never seen them whip anyone," Ratje told KTSM, an NBC affiliate in El Paso, Texas. "He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture."

"Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses," Ratje said.

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