EXCLUSIVE: Border Patrol agents are furious after it has emerged that the Department of Homeland Security is expected to punish multiple agents who were caught up in since-debunked allegations that they whipped Haitian migrants in Del Rio last year – exacerbating already rock-bottom morale among agents who see a politicized investigation designed to deliver a result for the White House.
“What we’re seeing right now is the executive branch weaponizing the Office of Professional Responsibility to go after what President Biden perceives as political opponents,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News Digital. “He doesn’t like the Border Patrol. He has never liked the mission of the Border Patrol. And now he is going after these agents because he panders to open border activists. This should never happen in this country.”
Fox News reported Tuesday that DHS is preparing to discipline “multiple” horseback Border Patrol agents involved in the incident of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border back in September, where some Democrats and immigration activists incorrectly believed they saw agents whipping Haitian migrants.
A federal source told Fox News an announcement on the matter is expected within the coming days. The agents are expected to discipline the agents with “administrative violations” rather than any criminal conduct – which was ruled out by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) last year. Fox is told that DHS will be putting forward their proposals for discipline to the agents, and the agents will then have a chance to respond and either accept the discipline, or fight it.
“I am through being surprised” one agent told Fox, along with a countdown until the agent’s retirement date. Another source told Fox that they knew of a number of agents who were planning on shifting their retirement forward as a result.
Another described it as “f—- bulls–t”
“Those agents did nothing wrong,” the agent said.
The controversy began amid the Haitian migrant crisis in Del Rio in September, where more than 10,000 migrants were gathered underneath the area’s International Bridge. As the situation worsened, agents were sent out on horseback to control the situation.
Images circulated on Twitter of the agents trying to block migrants from entering the U.S., and in one case grabbing a migrants’ shirt. The controversy escalated as some media outlets and Democratic lawmakers misidentified the agents’ split reins, which they use and twirl to control and direct the horse — and falsely claimed the agents were using “whips” on the migrants.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas initially backed the agents, but later changed his message, saying that the images “troubled me profoundly” and adding that “one cannot weaponize a horse” against migrants. Mayorkas announced that horses would no longer be used in Del Rio, and the agents were shifted to desk duty pending an investigation into their conduct. He would go on to promise that the investigation would be “completed in days, if not weeks.”
Vice President Harris and President Biden also weighed in against the agents, with Biden increasing the pressure on the besieged agents by repeating the false claims of whipping, and also previewed what he hoped would be the outcome of the investigation.
“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped – it’s outrageous,” Biden told reporters, making a whipping motion with his hand.
“I promise you, those people will pay,” he said of the agents. “There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences.”
Now, with DHS’ Office of Professional Responsibility believed to be lining up punishment for the agents nine months after the incident took place, Border Patrol agents – whose morale is already in the tank from having to deal with the massive ongoing crisis at the southern border – feel like their fellow agents are being thrown under the bus because officials felt forced to deliver a result.
“The moment he made that statement, the moment he said that those agents would pay, the moment he convicted those agents without any evidence, without any investigation, there could be no doubt in anybody’s mind that these investigators were going to come back with some sort of charge against the agents,”Judd said. “They had no choice.”
“The president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, said that they would pay, and now they’re paying,” he said.
Another agent tied the resurrection of the case to the upcoming midterm elections.
“The public had already forgotten about this. Bringing this back up is a much-needed distraction [for Biden] and helps make BP agents’ ‘racist’ behavior a political talking point for midterms,” the agent said.
They added: “Unfortunately we always expect the worst.”
Fox News has repeatedly reported on the low morale among agents.
Images have emerged of agents having tense encounters with both Mayorkas and with Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz. In video shared with Fox News by a Border Patrol source in January, Ortiz confirmed that “morale is at an all-time low.”
“I get it,” Ortiz said. “You come to work, you’re frustrated. You’re upset because you didn’t get the desired outcome that you want. Doesn’t mean you give up.”
One Border Patrol source who spoke to Fox blamed Ortiz for not having spoken publicly in defense of the agents.
“Ortiz absolutely knows they did nothing wrong. His silence is deafening to agents,” the source said. “The BP will have to rewrite their entire training procedures for the academy because we are trained to get physical if the aliens do not comply. All law enforcement are trained to the mantra of ‘ask, tell, make.’ The horse patrol guys were doing exactly what they are trained to do, and they were following orders at the time. Ortiz knows and refuses to do what is right.”
“They all know that it is to save face for the lies the administration propagated to the public,” the source said.
Judd said that agents are currently having to face not only with criminals at the border, but attacks from politicians back in Washington D.C.
“We’re under stress because we’re dealing with criminals. That’s what we’re dealing with. And then on top of that, you have to worry about the president of the United States coming after you — that makes for an awful lot of stress.”
“You’re already doing a job that we’ve had [Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] come out and equate us to Nazis, you had the Squad come out and made false allegations that we were forcing people to drink out of toilets. These are the types of things that we have to deal with from politicians that simply do not like the mission,” he said. “They don’t like the fact that we’re enforcing the laws of the United States. And so they come out and they attack us.“
Multiple agents have told Fox News that they are either retiring early, or know other agents who are planning on retiring early as a result of how the job is now — where many agents are pushed into processing migrants rather than being out in the field.
Judd also warned that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hire new agents, which he blamed in part on the heat on agents coming from left-wing politicians. He said that the agency is already understaffed by 2,000 agents.
“Of course, it’s going to make it much harder to hire people to come into an agency just to know that you’re going to be attacked by the president of the United States and other powerful politicians,” he said.