The Biden administration has suspended the use of horse patrols at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Del Rio, Texas, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Thursday.
Images began circulating earlier in the week of Border Patrol agents on horseback corralling a group of mostly Haitian migrants at a makeshift camp along the banks of the Rio Grande. Officials said some agents used horse reins during the clashes, which were mistaken for whips.
Photos and video from the scene drew widespread condemnation from some Democrats and civil rights groups — as well as top officials in the Biden administration.
“We feel those images are horrible and horrific,” Psaki said.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas informed civil rights leaders Thursday morning of the decision to suspend the use of horse patrols in Del Rio, Psaki added.
The Department of Homeland Security has opened an investigation into agents’ use of horses and placed the subjects of the investigation on administrative duties.
Some of the migrants at the border camp have been expelled on flights to Haiti, while others were allowed into the U.S. to seek asylum. There were just over 4,000 migrants in the camp Thursday morning, DHS officials said.
Also on Thursday, U.S. special envoy for Haiti Daniel Foote resigned, saying he “will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti.”