Horseback Border Patrol units who were accused of whipping Haitian migrants with horse reins were reassigned to desk duties while officials investigate the incident, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the agents were using long reins to control their horses during a Monday press conference. He added that the investigation is expected to conclude within days, rather than weeks, according to Fox News.
“We have ensured that the individuals during the pendency of the investigation are not conducting law enforcement duties to interact with migrants, but rather are conducting only administrative duties,” Mayorkas said, Fox News reported.
“The facts will drive the actions that we take,” Mayorkas added, according to Fox News. “We ourselves will pull no punches and we need to conduct this investigation thoroughly, but very quickly. It will be completed in days, if not weeks.”
The Border Patrol agents in question appeared to herd groups of Haitian migrants attempting to enter the U.S. from the Rio Grande River, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on Monday. The agents use long reins to control the horses and are careful not to injure migrants or others on the ground, Mayorkas said.
Some Democrats and media outlets referred to the Border Patrol’s split reins as “whips” and said they were using them against migrants, Fox News reported. California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi spoke out against “the inappropriate use of what appear to be whips by Border Patrol officers on horseback to intimidate migrants.”
New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said, “the images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol—including the use of whips—are unacceptable,” in a tweet early Tuesday morning.
Vice President Kamala Harris said she supports an investigation into whether the Border Patrol unit was using their reins in an inappropriate way, the DCNF reported.
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