Border patrol agents are mad and upset that leadership is throwing them under the bus, a top official with the agency’s union told Fox News in Del Rio, Texas.
“The agents feel like – at all levels of management, from [Customs and Border Protection] to [the Department of Homeland Security] and to the White House – that they’ve been thrown under the bus because no investigation has been completed, yet you’re hearing the president say these people will pay,” National Border Patrol Council Vice President Jon Anfinsen told Fox News.
“The secretary echoed those sentiments,” he continued. “And then Friday, of course, CBP’s commissioner basically said the same thing.”
Thousands of migrants gathered under the Del Rio International Bridge last week, overwhelming border authorities. Images of Border Patrol agents on horseback pursuing Haitian migrants went viral, with erroneous accusations that the officials were whipping the immigrants.
BIDEN WARNS MOUNTED BORDER PATROL AGENTS CHARGING MIGRANTS IN DEL RIO SECTOR: ‘THOSE PEOPLE WILL PAY’
In response, DHS temporarily suspended the use of horse patrols in Del Rio.
President Biden said: “It’s horrible what you saw. To see people like they did, with horses, running them over, people being strapped, it’s outrageous.”
“I promise you, those people will pay,” Biden added.
Anfinsen told Fox News: “It’s insane that this is where the narrative has gone.”
“In the situation, they were doing their job,” he said. “There are allegations they were whipping people. We don’t carry whips.”
“Those were reins, and no reins were used to whip anybody,” Anfinsen continued. “Simple as that.”
He said “D.C. was largely not paying attention” to what was happening under the bridge despite there being about 15,000 people there.
“Now there’s an incident where they can detract from the fact that they weren’t paying attention,” Anfinsen told Fox News. “They can point the blame at these agents on the ground and deflect any blame … onto these agents who were doing their job.”
Anfinsen said Border Patrol uses horses for areas that are difficult to reach. He said, for example, they might be used to cross ranches that would require a 10-mile walk to get to an area to patrol.
Additionally, migrant groups are often more likely to give up seeing the large animals rather than fighting with agents, he said.
This “leads to fewer uses of force, which obviously we would all prefer,” Anfinsen told Fox News.
Around 12,000 migrants who arrived in Del Rio were released into the U.S., Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on “Fox News Sunday.”
More migrants will be encouraged to come if the vast majority of the latest group was released, Anfinsen said.
“People are going to think ‘I stand a very good chance of staying,’” he told Fox News. “So of course they’ll cross because the message to them is ‘if you cross in this manner, you will get to stay.’”
Ultimately, Anfinsen believes Congress or the White House needs to change the laws and policy to make the border safer.
“If Congress wants to make it easier for people to immigrate to the United States, fine change the laws,” he told Fox News. “The way it is set up right now, we can’t keep doing this.”
“If we want to prevent situations like this from happening again, we have to change the law and the policy,” he continued.
Anfinsen said there are tens of thousands of people in Mexico and in Central and South America waiting to see how this plays out before deciding whether to make the trek.