The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (IGDHS) will not investigate the shipment by Border Patrol agents in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, photos that went viral around the world and challenged the immigration policy of the Joe Biden government.
The department, under whose command the Border Patrol operates, said Tuesday that Customs and Border Control (CBP) initially referred the investigation to IGDHS, but that agency “refused to investigate the facts” and referred the matter to the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). )”.
The Department of Homeland Security also reported that the Office of Field Operations “immediately began investigative work, including reviewing videos and photos and interviewing witnesses, staff, and CBP leaders,” noting further that the agency “followed the usual process in its investigation into this case.”
On September 19, photos were released of a group of Border Patrol agents on horseback, whips in hand and blocking a group of Haitian migrants crossing the Rio Grande with food obtained from their Mexican side.
The immigrants were part of a group of about 15,000 who spent the night under the Del Rio International Bridge waiting for the opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States.
The group being pursued by the agents had crossed to the Mexican side to buy food and then returned to share it with their families, most of whom were women and children.
The Department of Homeland Security said that upon completion of the OPR’s investigation, the findings will be submitted to CBP to determine if disciplinary action is appropriate and, if so, specific discipline to be imposed.”
“At that time, employees will have due process, including the opportunity to respond, and any corrective action will be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” a statement said.
He adds that the disciplinary process, which is independent of a fact-finding investigation, is subject to certain deadlines set forth in the CBP Labor and Management Agreement with the United States Border Patrol Officers Union.”
On September 24, five days after the events being investigated, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mallorcas, said during a White House briefing with spokeswoman Jen Psaki, describing the shipment’s images as “a shocking reality that does not reflect who we are, and what we aspire to.” , or the integrity and values of our truly heroic employees at the Department of Homeland Security.”
“The investigation into what happened is not over yet,” Mayorkas added, “and we know that these images have painfully triggered the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing fight against systemic racism.”
“We were prompt and meticulous in our response. First, we immediately contacted the Office of the Inspector General and began an investigation into the events captured in the disturbing photographs of the patrol units on horseback.
The head of US National Security also noted on that occasion that we “have discontinued the use of horse patrol units in the area” and that agents involved in these incidents “have been assigned administrative tasks and do not deal with immigrants while the investigation continues”.
Where is the investigation?
Summarizing the investigation that Mayorcas ordered after the incident, the Department of Homeland Security said the Office of Civil Operations “is the office tasked with investigating the alleged misconduct of CBP personnel.”
It further stated that “in accordance with DHS policy, the Office of Refugee Protection refers all allegations of serious misconduct against law enforcement officers to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (OIG).” And that the Office of the Attorney General “may share its preliminary findings with the United States Attorney’s Office to alert federal prosecutors to the facts of the case and to ensure that administrative actions do not inadvertently harm any potential criminal investigation.”
In the update report, the Department of Homeland Security further stated that “Depending on the circumstances, the Department of Homeland Security may wait for an interview with the subject(s) of the investigation until the attorney general has made a decision whether or not to proceed with the case.” And if he accepts it, “the attorney general’s office will coordinate the investigation with the Ministry of Justice.”
The horseback assault against Haitian immigrants in Del Rio was severely criticized within the United States and abroad. “What we saw is horrific,” President Biden said when asked how to reconcile the message of respect for human rights with immigration matters that he spoke about during this period, seeing people, as we saw, with horses, running over (Haitians), being restrained Disgraceful campaign with scenes captured in Del Rio.
“I promise: these people will pay. There is an investigation going on now and there will be consequences,” he said.
Two weeks after the attack, the camp was evacuated and most immigrants from the United States were deported.