Border Protection agents are not whipping Haitian immigrants in the latest border crisis at the Del Rio sector of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. The video surfaced earlier this week showing Border Protection agents on horseback using “split reins,” trying to capture fleeing migrants. Nevertheless, the Department of Homeland Security has temporarily suspended the horse patrol at the Del Rio sector.

According to a story from the National Review, a spokesperson from U.S. Custom and Border Protection explain how the agents use their reins:

“[A]gents use their reins for a lot of reasons. Primarily it’s used to steer the horse, but agents will also spin them sometimes to deter people from getting too close to the horse. If they get too close, the horse can step on them, breaking bones or causing other injuries. Agents also need to maintain control of their reins to avoid losing control of the horse, which can cause injuries to immigrants, the agents, and the horses.”

A U.S. Border agent explains what the patrol does and how they use the split reins:

Even Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas noted at his press conference in Del Rio on Sept. 20 that the reins could be used to “ensure control of the horse.”

The border has received renewed interest due to images of approximately 12,000-15,000 migrants under a bridge at the Del Rio sector.  Mayorkas spoke about the surge, citing Title 42 as the authority under which the Department of Homeland Security is removing migrants. He said the DHS will “continue to exercise the Centers for Disease Control’s Title 42 authority.  Title 42 is not an immigration authority but a public health authority to protect the American public, to protect the communities along the border, and to protect the migrants themselves.”

Reportedly, many of the migrants are Haitians who are now being sent back to Haiti.  However, it is unclear how many Haitians have come directly from Haiti. It is also unclear how many are genuinely being flown back home.

Ben Bergquam, who is actually at the border and has covered the border crisis extensively, told Steve Bannon on his Wednesday show that most migrants have been living in countries like Ecuador and Chile for several years. This is an important fact because they already have asylum in those countries.

A report from the Daily Mail seems to confirm Bergquam’s findings. A graphic from the story shows the routes Haitians are allegedly traveling. The Daily Mail writes:

“The thousands of Haitians who have turned up in Del Rio, Texas didn’t migrate from Haiti at all but from Chile, where they had been granted asylum and were working and living comfortably as refugees. The majority of the Haitian migrants have come from Chile—the wealthiest country in Latin America—and Brazil—the fifth wealthiest— where they have been living in modest comfort in Santiago and São Paulo for the past five or six years.”

Graphic/Daily Mail/Haitian Migrants Come to U.S. Border

Todd Bensman with the Center For Immigration Studies (CIS) also told the Daily Mail that “he has not met any Haitian in Del Rio or Acuna who has come directly from their Caribbean-island homeland.” He further commented that the open border policies under the Biden administration are driving the migration.

‘None of these Haitians are from Haiti, said Bensman. “None of them. These Haitians are all from Chile and Brazil,’ he said. 

‘When Biden got in, word went out, and they decided, we’re coming now. That was the decision point. I’ve interviewed 60 to 70 Haitians over the last year, and it’s always the same story—Joe Biden opened the border, so we decided we could upgrade our lifestyle. 

‘I interviewed a guy an hour ago who said he was living in Brazil and making good money, but he said he heard everyone was getting into America, so he came.’

On Wednesday’s War Room, Bensman explained what he thinks is happening to these migrants. He says many are not being flown back to Haiti. No one seems to know the numbers being deported.

“For one thing—the Biden administration is bussing hundreds per night out of the camp into remote Border Patrol stations, and they are being processed into the United States. I don’t know what the breakdown is—they won’t say what the breakdown is—but definitely, migrants are being released into the United States on commercial buses.”

“So the other thing that’s happening is Haitians are voluntarily fleeing this camp to the South. We saw about 1000 of them in a park just across the Rio Grande. They told us the reason is that they fear being deported to Haiti. About 1000 of them have been deported to Haiti. This is a policy that is incredibly effective from the trump playbook; it’s right out of the Trump playbook. We hope that they keep it.”

“[This] playbook was pulled by the Biden ministration because it works. It is so powerful. When this camp is gone, and the media goes home, and the Al Sharpton’s disappear—this policy needs to remain in place and not just apply to Haitians but to all the nationalities that are coming over all along the border and will be watching to see—if it is still in place.”

On Wednesday, The Washington Examiner reported that Haitians had allegedly hijacked several buses “during transport rides and forced out drivers in incidents that threaten to stop the U.S. government’s immigration enforcement operations. They’ve been basically overpowering the drivers, and they’ve actually hijacked a couple of the buses and driven them down the road a little way and escaped. This happened multiple times, according to a senior federal law enforcement official.”

Former acting ICE director Tom Homan criticized Mayorkas on Fox News for “hiding” the border data concerning removals.

They absolutely know the numbers, and he’s not going to pull the numbers. I was the ICE director, and we spent millions of dollars on these databases. As ICE director, all I have to do is make a phone call and say, how many people have we removed since January? I’ve had the answer in 15 minutes because a database will spill the information out. For him to say I am working for 18 hours—he’s not going to pull data. It takes the guy sitting behind him, is his chief of staff. His chief of staff should be calling ICE for that number. They can get the number in 20 minutes. This is them hiding the numbers. They’re ashamed of the numbers. I’ll tell you the next move because I’ve been through this before. They’re going to tell ICE to slow roll the release the Haitians right now because we’re under a microscope. Slow roll the release. I’ve been there. That’s what they’re going to do. ICE has those numbers— how many they release, Border Patrol knows how many they’ve released. It’s a matter of pulling numbers out of [the] database and a few clicks on a keyboard.”

Homan is not the only official to criticize Secretary Mayorkas. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla. asked Mayorkas in a virtual hearing with the House Homeland Security Committee how many of the 1.5 million illegal immigrants have actually been returned since Mayorkas has been in charge. Gimenez was dissatisfied with his answers, saying Mayorkas was unprepared and should have had the answers on hand.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t answer the question either. In her Wednesday press conference, when questioned (transcript here), Psaki said the following:

MS. PSAKI: I certainly understand why you’re asking, and understand why people have been asking Secretary Mayorkas. Those are numbers that are—the Sec- —the Department of Homeland Security would have the most up-to-date numbers.

But why is it so hard to keep track of a simple number like that?  Why can’t you give it? Why can’t he give it? It’s been—two days now he’s been asked that.

MS. PSAKI: I’m certain they will provide it. It’s an absolutely fair question to ask. And I’m certain he just wanted to have the most up-to-date numbers to provide.

West Texan photographer Auden B. Cabello knows well the plight of law-abiding migrants coming from Mexico and agreed with Bannon that this crisis is upsetting. He stated there are so many hard-working, working-class Hispanics that have followed the rules to become American citizens—especially since the bridge has been closed because of the crisis:

Bannon: “[There are so many] hard-working class Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley. This is all being dumped on them. But as important, they are people that played by the rules in Mexico and come across the international bridge every day with a work permit to work in our country, to shop, or to see family.  Now they’ve got to go around the bridge because it is now closed. They’ve got to go around— 50 miles around the eagle pass— think how tough life is when you don’t have a car when you are used to walking across the bridge..”

Cabello: “Yes Sir, even my family friends—everybody—businesses, everybody is frustrated. It’s really affecting everyone, but now it’s everybody that’s been affected on both sides of the border, and all they want is [to] open up the bridge. We need to continue with our lives; we’re doing everything legally.

Just today, I spoke with the family of Cubans, and I asked them did you just leave Cuba now? He says, ‘Oh no, we left Cuba three years ago. ‘We’ve been living in Ecuador, but right now is the perfect time to come to the United States, and I’m going to cross today. Once I make it to the U.S., I’m gonna go get my family.”