Psaki: Horse Patrols Temporarily Suspended at Haitian Camp in Del Rio

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
and Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.
September 23, 2021 Updated: September 23, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that there will be no more Border Patrol horse operations in Del Rio, Texas, following images of agents on horseback apprehending illegal immigrants near a river crossing area.

Psaki on Thursday again claimed that the images show “horrible and horrific” treatment of mostly Haitian illegal immigrants in the area.

“We will no longer be using horses in Del Rio,” she said following criticism of the images.

In the same statement, Psaki also made reference to the Trump administration’s border policies, alleging that the Biden administration “could not see it as any more different from the policy of the prior administration.”

“Which the president feels, we all feel, was inhumane, immoral, ineffective, wasn’t operationally working. And because of the disfunction of it, we have led to a very broken system that we’re dealing with today,” she said in a comment.

Over the past week, White House officials have echoed claims made by some media pundits, pro-immigration activists, and certain Democrats about images and video footage of agents grabbing people who illegally crossed into the United States from Mexico. Some have claimed, without providing evidence, that Border Patrol officials were whipping the Haitians with their reins, which are used to control the horse.

The Biden administration, which controls Border Patrol agents via the Department of Homeland Security, has received significant bipartisan criticism over a swelling immigration crisis near a bridge in Del Rio, where more than 15,000 Haitians have amassed in recent days. Some experts say that the camps under the bridge—where piles of garbage are located just feet from sleeping areas—will lead to outbreaks of COVID-19 and other transmissible diseases.

Epoch Times Photo
Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Haitians, live in a primitive, makeshift camp under the international bridge that spans the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico while waiting to be detained and processed by Border Patrol, in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 21, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Haitians, live in a primitive, makeshift camp under the international bridge that spans the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico while waiting to be detained and processed by Border Patrol, in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 21, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

This week, Psaki and other White House officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in response to questions about the crisis in Del Rio, have often made reference to the horse patrol images while saying that it is currently carrying out an investigation into the matter.

However, a top Border Patrol union official, Brandon Judd, told The Epoch Times this week that agents were not whipping their reins at the illegal aliens.

“Agents have to keep the migrants away from the horses for their own protection. And so they will use the reins, to twirl the reins, so that they will stay away from the horses. But they do not use those reins to lash out, to try to strike people. Those agents did not use those reins in any way, shape, or form to try to strike anybody,” he said, adding that horses are used as a “deterrent technique” to prevent illegals from entering the country.

Regarding comments made by White House officials, Judd said Border Patrol officials feel abandoned in the wake of a burgeoning crisis.

Epoch Times Photo
A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian illegal alien from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. (PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

“I get that all the time. My agents are constantly reaching out to me asking, ‘Why isn’t this administration standing up and doing something to secure the border?’ ‘Why is this administration allowing cartels to have free rein of the border?’ ‘Why is this administration [doing nothing] when they said that they were going to have humane immigration practices? I don’t know,” Judd, who is the head of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Epoch Times.

Judd also pointed to the makeshift shantytown that was erected by Haitians under the Del Rio bridge: “You tell me. Does this look like it’s humane right here?”

“This looks like a warzone refugee camp. That’s what this looks like. And if anybody says that this is humane, I would love for them to come and explain to me how this, right here, is humane,” he said. “But this is the Biden administration. This never happened with the Trump administration.”

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.