Border Patrol agents who President Joe Biden promised would “pay” for their treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, could face little more than a few days suspension if an investigation supports the explanation of officials and agents.
A Department of Homeland Security probe was started after photos and videos emerged showing horseback agents confronting migrants at the southern border. Democrats and left-wing activists claimed the officers used “whips” against migrants.
Officials and agents, however, said the officers were using long reins to control their horses, and were twirling them to move the horses forward, not to attack migrants.
Fox News reported that new video supported that claim. The outet added that six agents were under investigation.
Still, Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed the images captured examples of systemic racism.
“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped — it’s outrageous,” Biden said Friday. “I promise you, those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences.”
Despite Biden’s angry statements, senior administration officials told Fox News that the DHS investigation should produce little more than a suspension of a few days with pay for the agents.
An official told the news outlet that the horse unit previously had not been assigned to the Del Rio bridge, and that agents did not have clear rules of engagement. Instead, they listened to the radio and went to assist other agents.
“They did their job,” the official said.
Fox News, citing a source familiar with the investigation, said a team of investigators from the Department of Justice were investigating potential civil rights violations in Del Rio. The DHS Office of Inspector General also could be involved.
A senior administration official, though, told the news outlet that the agents only should face a possible suspension for several days with pay.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who backed the agents in a press conference last week, is expected to oppose any attempt to fire the officers.
Ortiz said he supported horse patrols at the border.
Sources told Fox News the investigation could rest on what the agents said, rather than what they did.
“You use your women? This is why your country’s sh–, because you use your women for this,” one agent said in a video clip.
However, “yelling at people is not a crime,” said the official, who added that the National Border Patrol Council had sent in lawyers and the men are “well represented.”
It also was noted that despite the presence of tens of thousands of migrants, not one agent or one migrant was hurt.