If you're catching up on this controversy, here are the basics: Last year, amid a huge surge of Haitian nationals illegally crossing the Southern border, images emerged of US Border Patrol agents on horseback maneuvering to make apprehensions and manage the crowd arriving on the banks of the Rio Grande. Some activists and journalists mistook the agents' use of reins to control their horses for whips. A hoax was born. A smear. After initially telling the truth about what actually happened, the DHS Secretary quickly fell in line with the official White House position: That the agents actively whipped dark-skinned human beings, and in the words of the president, they would be made to "pay." That was Biden's ignorant, knee-jerk promise, pre-judging an "investigation" into non-existent 'whipping' that has dragged on for roughly nine months. In April of this year, it emerged that the wrongly-targeted officials would not face charges after all, which should have been an obvious conclusion from the beginning. I reacted at the time, presuming the nightmare was finally over for the agents involved:
The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to discipline "multiple" horseback Border Patrol agents involved in the infamous "whipping" incident of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border back in September. A federal source told Fox News an announcement on the matter is expected within the coming days. The source said that DHS will be putting forth proposals to discipline the agents who will have a chance to respond to the charges. The charges, Fox News is told, are "administrative violations," and do not amount to criminal conduct – of which the agents were previously cleared. Many Democrats and media outlets falsely described the agents' long reins, which they use to control their horses, as "whips." ABC, CBS and NBC pushed the debunked claim that Border Patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants, but didn't bother to inform viewers that it was discredited. President Biden weighed in on the controversy, saying, "those people will pay." "There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences," Biden said at the time. "There will be consequences."
This smacks of politically-motivated retribution. I'm open to the possibility that some of these agents may have bent a rule or side-stepped some official regulation during the chaotic incident. To be clear, I don't know that to be the case. But the President of the United States stood up in front of the country and slandered these men, based on misinformation, which his administration and the media actively spread. In the process of embarrassing and discrediting himself, Biden tainted the subsequent probe by announcing his (wrong) conclusion in advance. Is it any surprise that the bureaucracy that operates under Biden might choose to contort itself in order to satisfy a public promise issued by the boss, thus sparing him further humiliation? Biden said the conduct in question was outrageous and would be punished. Message: Violations will be found, even if it takes the better part of a year, and 'consequences' will be meted out. That doesn't sound like justice. That sounds like kangaroo-court, banana-republic type stuff. Major 'show me the man, and I'll show you the crime' energy.
What's especially galling about this is that it again sends a strong signal that the Biden administration seems much more eager to scapegoat and sanction US officials trying to enforce the law and secure the border than they are in...enforcing the law and securing the border. Speaking of which, the Biden border crisis continues apace, with no signs of slowing. The incentives remain backwards, and the results continue to speak for themselves:
NEW: We were in Roma, TX in RGV last night where a massive group of 250+ migrants crossed illegally. There were 138 unaccompanied kids in the group. From Oct-April, there have been 85,688 unaccompanied kids at the border. That would fill up the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/P9sVwPHfc1— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 14, 2022
NEW: 3,300 + illegal crossings and nearly 900 known gotaways in Del Rio sector over the weekend.— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 13, 2022
Agents also arrested a man from El Salvador who was previously convicted & sentenced to 20 years for “forceful penetration with an inanimate object”.
Yes, you read it right @FoxNews https://t.co/Wo7tzSFSlB
NEW: Groups of migrants are arriving in La Joya, TX this evening after crossing illegally, including dozens of unaccompanied children & teens. Majority are turning themselves in, hoping for release.— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 14, 2022
There have been 20,000+ illegal crossings here in the RGV last 2 weeks @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/Gyqxf6bf4b
April shattered the previous record on monthly encounters at the border, with tens of thousands of known 'got-aways' entering the country, in addition to the 118,000 or so who were processed by authorities then released. Some of the only good news on this front has come via the courts, including a federal judge delaying the utter disaster of Title 42's rapid expulsions ending, which Team Biden planned to implement on May 23. They've been dealt another judicial setback in recent days:
A federal judge on Friday struck down the Biden administration’s restrictions on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which dramatically limits which illegal immigrants the agency can arrest and deport -- marking the latest legal defeat for the Biden administration on immigration policy. Texas Judge Drew Tipton, responding to a lawsuit filed by Texas and Louisiana which said the rules violated federal law, shut down the policy but stayed the implementation of the ruling for seven days to give the Biden administration time to appeal. The administration in September issued a memorandum that made official prior guidance that limited ICE agents to focusing on three groups of illegal immigrants: Recent border crossers, threats to national security and threats to public safety...
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in his memo that it meant that just being in the country illegally was not enough to get arrested or deported by ICE -- part of a dramatic overhauling of immigration policy by the Biden administration. "We have fundamentally changed immigration enforcement in the interior," Mayorkas declared in an interview with CBS News in January. "For the first time ever, our policy explicitly states that a non-citizen's unlawful presence in the United States will not, by itself, be a basis for the initiation of an enforcement action." Tipton, in his ruling, said that the government fell short in reconciling the guidance with federal law, which demands the detention in certain situations. He said the government "offers an implausible construction of federal law that flies in the face of the limitations imposed by Congress."
According to the Biden administration, violating US law and sovereignty -- and even being convicted of additional crimes -- is not necessarily sufficient to merit an "enforcement action" (such as deportation) against illegal immigrants. But Border Patrol agents who are falsely accused of wrongdoing must be disciplined because the Commander-in-Chief declared it to be so, regardless of facts. Disgraceful. I'll leave you with this thought: Biden's leadership has been a rolling train wreck, but it would unequivocally be much worse if not for other people saving him from himself -- from Joe Manchin saying 'no' to a $5 trillion inflation bomb, to judges preventing full open borders, to courts interceding on ridiculous COVID restrictions (which the administration is fighting in court to reimpose). It takes checks on his power to stop him from doing even more damage. Voters will soon have an opportunity to install another major check in the form of a Republican Congress.