US officials confirmed that over 6,000 migrants were removed from an encampment in Del Rio, Texas, as they defended immediately expelling the migrants and using horse patrols to prevent them from entering the town.
“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, calling it a “challenging and heartbreaking situation.”
Widely spread photos and video showed agents on horseback used what appeared to be whips and their horses to push migrants back at the river near Del Rio, where thousands of migrants camped under a bridge. Mayorkas and Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said they would investigate to ensure the agents did not take any “unacceptable” actions.
A Trump-era pandemic-related authority enabled the hasty expulsions. The rule, adopted by former President Donald Trump, allows for migrants’ immediate removal without an opportunity to seek asylum. President Joe Biden excused unaccompanied children from the order but let the rest stand.