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Tag: Migrants

DHS Inspector General Declines to Investigate Horse-Mounted Agents

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security’s inspector general has decided not to investigate horse-mounted Border Patrol agents who were seen in viral images blocking Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas.

The images provoked public outrage and a pledge by President Biden to swiftly investigate the incident. 

CBP initially referred the investigation to the inspector general’s office, which declined and handed it back to Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which “immediately commenced investigative work, including its review of videos and photographs and the interview of witnesses employees, and CBP leadership,” Homeland Security said in a statement Tuesday.

“Once completed, the results of the investigation will be provided to CBP management to determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate and, if so, the specific discipline to be imposed,” according to the statement. “At that time, the employees will be afforded due process, including an opportunity to respond, and any corrective actions will comport with applicable laws and regulations. The disciplinary process, which is separate from the fact-finding investigation, is subject to certain timelines established in CBP’s labor-management agreement with the employees’ union of the United States Border Patrol.” 

OPR is tasked with investigating alleged misconduct by CBP employees. As a matter of policy, OPR refers all allegations of serious misconduct to the inspector general’s office. 

“DHS remains committed to conducting a thorough, independent, and objective investigation,” the statement reads. “DHS will share information, as available, consistent with the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and individuals’ privacy.”

Border Patrol Agents Questioned about Use of Horses in Handling of Haitian Migrants

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

Federal investigators are finally interviewing Border Patrol personnel who were present in September when viral images showed agents on horses try to block Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas, ABC News reports.

The investigation was initiated by CBP following public outrage over Border Patrol agents on horses chasing and grabbing Haitian migrants. 

Homeland Security officials suspended the use of horse patrols following the shocking images, and President Biden pledged a swift investigation that will result in “consequences.”

But since then, the investigation has been anything but swift.  

Some have defended the agents, saying they were just doing their job. 

Details of the current investigation weren’t clear. 

At least two of the agents in the photos remain on administrative leave. 

DOJ Reviews Preliminary Probe into Border Patrol Agents’ Handling of Haitian Migrants

By Steve Neavling

Viral images of Border Patrol agents on horses trying to block Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas, sparked outrage, and Homeland Security officials pledged a swift investigation. 

More than month later, the agents have not yet been questioned, ABC News reports, citing a law enforcement official.

Homeland Security officials have declined to comment on the investigation. 

The Justice Department has received a preliminary report from the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which was investigating. No decision has been made on whether criminal charges are warranted. 

According to one law enforcement official, the internal investigation could only proceed – and the agents interviewed – when the U.S. attorney made a decision. 

“The investigation is ongoing,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. “The Department is committed to a thorough, independent, and objective process. We are also committed to transparency and will release the results of the investigation once it is complete.”

Border Arrests Reach Record Numbers in 2021 Fiscal Year

File photo, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

A record number of migrants have been arrested along the Mexico border with more than 1.7 million detainments during the 2021 fiscal year, The Washington Post reports.

By comparison, the average number of migrants taken into custody in the fiscal years between 2012 and 2020 was 540,000.  

In the first nine months of Biden’s administration, U.S. authorities have detained more than 1.3 million migrants, including 192,000 last month. 

Republicans have blamed Biden’s laxer immigration policies on the surge. 

During the 2021 fiscal year, more than 608,000 Mexican nationals were arrested, representing the largest source of illegal migration. 

The second-largest source of illegal migration was outside Mexico and Central America, in a category called “other,” which includes Haitians, Venezuelans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Brazilians and migrants from dozens of other nations. 

Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador followed. 

“Migration to the U.S.-Mexico border is now truly global,” Cris Ramón, an independent immigration consultant in Washington, said. “The implications for immigration policy require a far more comprehensive approach because it’s not enough to say you have to deter migration from Mexico or Central America. This has become a far more complex problem for the administration to deal with.”

DHS to Investigate ‘Extremely Troubling’ Footage of Border Patrol Confronting Migrants in Del Rio

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security is investigating images and video of horse-mounted Border Patrol agents chasing and whipping Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas. 

In a tweet Monday, Homeland Security said it was taking the situation “very seriously.”

“The footage is extremely troubling, and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken,” Homeland Security said.

CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating, and the DHS Office of Inspector General has been alerted. 

The scene played out near a makeshift camp in Del Rio, a small town where a large influx of migrants from Haiti have gathered in hopes of being granted asylum. 

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the footage was “devastating.”

“I’ve seen some of the footage,” Psaki said at a briefing Monday. “I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate. But I don’t have additional details.”

CBP Temporarily Closes Del Rio Border Crossing in Response to Influx of Migrants

By Steve Neavling

U.S. customs and Border Protection has temporarily closed the Del Rio border crossing with Mexico as authorities grapple with a large influx of migrants who formed a makeshift campuses under a bridge. 

CBP announced Friday that it was re-rerouting traffic from Del Rio to Eagle Pass in Texas to manage resources and free up the flow of travel and trade. 

“This temporary closure and shift is necessary in order for CBP to respond to urgent safety and security needs presented by an influx of migrants into Del Rio and is effective immediately,” CBP said in a news release. “It will advance and protect national interests and help ensure the safety of the traveling public, commercial traffic, and CBP employees and facilities.”

The inundation of migrants, mostly Haitians, has strained resources in Del Rio, a bilingual town of 36,000 residents. Authorities estimate more than 12,900 migrants have tried to cross the border into Del Rio.  

The migrants entered the country illegally and are hoping to claim asylum. 

Border Patrol Agents Discover 2 Small Children Abandoned Along Mexico Border in Texas

Border Patrol agents from two small children in Texas near the Mexico border. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents in Texas found two small children who were abandoned along the Mexico border, along with a note left under a baby carrier. 

The agents assigned to the Eagle Pass South Station spotted “an unusual color” on the riverbank Tuesday, the agency said. As they investigated, they found the children. 

A note under the baby carrier indicated the children, a 2-year-old girl and 3-month-old boy, were siblings from Honduras. 

The agents searched the area and found no one else around. 

The children did not require medical care and were taken to the Uvalde Station for processing. 

Homeland Security’s Chief of Staff Karen Olick Resigns to ‘Pursue New Opportunities’

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

Karen Olick, chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced on Monday that she’s resigning at the end of the month, citing an undisclosed opportunity. 

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jennifer Higgins, associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS officials told Politico.

In an email, Olick said, “Though too often underappreciated by our fellow citizens, I am continually struck by how many millions of Americans sleep in safety every night because so many at DHS do not sleep.” 

In a separate email, Mayorkas notified staff that Olick “has decided to resign her position and pursue new opportunities. We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”

Olick most recently worked for SKDK, the Democratic-centric political communications firm. 

Her departure comes as Homeland Security grapples with a high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.