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Media peddles narrative horseback Border Patrol agents using 'whips' on Haitian migrants in Del Rio

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Members of the media pushed a narrative that Border Patrol agents were using “whips” on Haitian migrants who’ve gathered at the U.S. southern border in recent days. 

A report from the El Paso Times went viral over its dramatic depiction of what was taking place in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of Haitians have overflowed the region. 

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“As the Haitians tried to climb onto the U.S. side of the river Sunday afternoon, the agent shouted: ‘Let’s go! Get out now! Back to Mexico!'” the Times wrote Sunday. “The agent swung his whip menacingly, charging his horse toward the men in the river who were trying to return to an encampment under the international bridge in Del Rio after buying food and water in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. One migrant fell as he tried to dodge, others shielded their heads with their hands.”

The excerpt was shared by PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. 

The Intercept journalist Ryan Devereaux similarly highlighted the Times reporting, writing, “Border Patrol agents on horseback cracking whips and charging into crowds of Haitian asylum seekers in Texas, shouting at them to go back to Mexico — strong reporting from @psskow on the situation in Del Rio/Ciudad Acuña.”

“My God,” Sunny Hostin from “The View” reacted.

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“This is absolutely horrifying. Like something out of the 19th century,” The Atlantic staff writer Adam Serwer tweeted. “I don’t know about anyone else but I wasn’t aware border patrol agents were authorized to use whips on human beings.” 

“Wait… cracking whips?” Associated Press reporter Jim Vertuno asked.

Devereaux’s tweet was additionally shared by MSNBC host Chris Hayes, Business Insider reporter Eliza Relman and The Week correspondent Ryan Cooper. 

Democratic operative Sawyer Hackett shared images of the horseback Border Patrol agents, tweeting “Border patrol is mounted on horseback rounding up Haitian refugees with whips. This is unfathomable cruelty towards people fleeing disaster and political ruin. The administration must stop this.”

That tweet went viral, capturing the attention of MSNBC host Joy Reid. 

“This is beyond repulsive. Are these images from 2021 or 1851??” Reid reacted.

Several Democratic lawmakers also amplified the narrative.

“It doesn’t matter if a Democrat or Republican is President, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants,” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Immigration should not be a crime, and its criminalization is a relatively recent invention. This is a stain on our country.”

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“This is so sick and @CBP will continue to commit human rights abuses if we don’t stop it now,” Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted. “Cracking a f—ing whip on Haitians fleeing hardship shows you that this system simply can’t be reformed. @OversightDems + @HouseJudiciary should hold hearings immediately + act.”

“Use of whips on refugees? Disturbing and unacceptable. This must end immediately,” Oregan Sen. Jeff Merkley wrote. 

One Border Patrol agent slammed the viral tweet, telling Fox News, “We do not carry whips and the only thing I see in their hands is reins.”

The agent added, “BP does an excellent job when it comes to use of force training. There is no way a horse patrol unit would be whipping aliens. Whips are not issued or authorized for use.”

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The El Paso Times did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed to this report. 

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