A viral video showing Border Patrol Agents on horseback attempting to stop migrants from crossing the Rio Grande has sparked strong reactions across the country.
KTSM Anchor Christina Aguayo and Photojournalist Johnny Munoz were in Del Rio investigating the incident and found that even though most of the headlines say that Border Patrol Agents were using whips to threaten and intimidate the migrants, Ranchers and horse experts in Del Rio disagree.
According to a sixth generation Rancher, Kerr Wardlaw, the Border Patrol Agents were using something called split reins in order to have more control their horse. Wardlaw said that agents also use the tail end of the reins to help with quickly move the horse from left to right.
The video – which shows several border patrol agents on horseback blocking migrants from entering into a migrant camp underneath the Del Rio International Bridge – sparked strong reactions from the White House to across the nation.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was put in charge of the crisis at the southern border back in March, condemned the agents actions saying,
“What I saw depicted, those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible.”
On Monday DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the long reins used by the agents were to ensure control of the horses, but then said on Tuesday that the pictures “horrified him.”
Wardlaw explained that the agents who appeared to be swinging their reins in the air were actually using their reins as a tool, to quickly move the rear end of the horse from left to right. He said that the agents were using non-lethal force by using their horses as tools.
Warldaw also said that one of his friends who works in Border Patrol revealed that the agent in the video reached for the migrant only after that migrant tried to gain control of the horse, which if gained, could have been very dangerous. The rancher asserts that the agent could have been seriously hurt.