The use of horses among Border Patrol officials in Del Rio, Texas has been suspended in the aftermath of images being shared that showed mounted Border Patrol agents using their horses to keep Haitian illegal immigrants from crossing into the US.
During Thursday’s daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the policy change that came out of the investigation into the images, which she called “horrible and horrific.”
“There was an investigation, which the president certainly supports, overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, which he has conveyed will happen quickly,” she said.
“I can also convey to you that the Secretary also conveyed to civil rights earlier this morning that we would no longer be using horses in Del Rio. So that is something — a policy change that has been made in response.”
The policy change comes days after the images first surfaced showing Border Patrol agents chasing and herding the illegal immigrants as they exit the Rio Grande river on the US side of the border, and some critics say the images appear to show the officers using their reins as “whips.”
One photo showed an agent leaning over his saddle to grab a man running into the US by the shirt.
Shortly after they surfaced, an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security was launched.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has made clear he hopes the investigation will be completed within “days” and not weeks.
It is unclear what, if any, repercussions the border patrol agents involved will face at the end of the investigation.
Part of the investigation process, Psaki said Thursday, will be figuring out what those could be.
“I’m not going to get ahead of that process,” she said. “That’s why the process is in place and I’m sure once it’s completed, we’ll have more to say.”
While the investigation is ongoing, the agents involved have been placed on administrative duty and are no longer in direct contact with migrants at the border.
Mayorkas slammed the images again on Wednesday, saying they were “correctly and necessarily were met with our nation’s horror,” while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill.
“They do not reflect who we are as a country, nor do we think they reflect who the United States custom border protection is,” he said.