Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandros Mayorkas signaled he would consider getting rid of the Border Horse Patrol entirely, citing their behavior as the “worst elements” of “systemic racism” in the United States.
During the daily press briefing at the White House, Mayorkas was repeatedly questioned about images captured on the border of agents on horses confronting Haitian migrants, which outraged Democrats and civil rights activists.
“Those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism,” Mayorkas said.
When asked if he would get rid of the horse patrol unit entirely, Mayorkas said he would “take a look” at the possibility.
“We’re going to take a look,” he said, adding that he would first focus on a “fact-based” investigation of the incident.
Mayorkas said that horses were used by agents to travel through difficult terrain as part of their jobs.
“That horse patrol, the horse patrol that the Customs and Border Protection employs, the border patrol specifically has actually saved lives before, but we will take a look,” he said.
Democrats continue condemning video footage and images of the mounted border patrol confronting a group of Haitian migrants, despite no public evidence to suggest that agents hit them with whips or with their open reins used to control their horses.
Mayorkas did not correct a reporter during the briefing who repeated assertions that agents were using whips against the migrants.
President Joe Biden also criticized the agents on Friday, vowing to punish them.
“To see people treated like they did, horses running them over and people getting strapped, it’s outrageous I promise you those people will pay,” Biden said at the White House.