Emails given to Townhall reveal extensive communication between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and left-wing groups over the highly publicized incident involving Border Patrol agents who were falsely accused of whipping Haitians illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas last year.
The emails, which were obtained by The Heritage Foundation's Oversight Project, show the White House's Office of Public Engagement planned a meeting between DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and members of Latino-centered groups for September 27, 2021. Cedric Richmond, the White House's director of Office of Public Engagement, and Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council senior director for the Western Hemisphere, were also slated to attend.
Groups who were listed to be represented at the meeting and pushed the whipping hoax included Latino Victory and Mi Familia Vota.
- “We are deeply disturbed by the images coming out of Del Rio, Texas. Border Patrol agents swinging whips at Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the United States is cruel, immoral, and inhumane. Our country’s federal agents must not subject human beings to this level of cruelty," said Nathalie Rayes, president and CEO of Latino Victory.
- "Today we stand in solidarity with Haitian immigrants and condemn the horrific images of Border Patrol Agents whipping migrants on the border. We demand justice," @MiFamiliaVota.
Voto Latino released a statement that called for agents at the center of the incident to be fired at a time when Border Patrol was severely understaffed with the thousands of Haitians camping under the Del Rio international bridge.
"The images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants at the border are unacceptable and reflect a broader concern of a renegade agency built on deep-seated racism and cruelty. The Biden administration must fully investigate Border Patrol and the only acceptable outcome is to terminate those responsible," said Voto Latino President and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar.
In another set of emails obtained by the Oversight Project, they show on September 26, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties informs Angela Kelley, a former senior immigration counselor, of a complaint against the agents in Del Rio and DHS filed by different groups claiming "rights violations," which was led by the Haitian Bridge Alliance, UndocuBlack Network, and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).
The Haitian Bridge Alliance, UndocuBlack Network, and BAJI wrote in their complaint to DHS about "CBP officers on horseback using whip-like reins as weapons against migrants."
In the chain, Culliton-Gonzalez says her office has opened two cases and her office was trying to set up a meeting with the groups who filed the complaint. She added how "personal contacts" are reaching out to her from these groups trying to get on her calendar.
The official investigation into the incident confirmed the Border Patrol agents did not use whips, as they are not issued whips, and they were spinning their split reins to keep people away from the horses to avoid injury. No one was deliberately struck by the reins. The photographer whose photos were used by liberal activists to make it appear whips were being used said shortly after the controversy started that he did not see anyone being whipped.
None of the groups responded to requests for comment in time for publication. DHS also did not respond to Townhall's request for comment.
"Mayorkas promised an impartial and serious investigation into the debunked border whipping hoax. That clearly was never going to happen. The fact that he was meeting with the open-borders groups who were the chief proponents of the hoax shows that this was always a political hit job and a sloppy one at that. We look forward to his prompt impeachment in the next Congress," Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Project, told Townhall.