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EXCLUSIVE: CBP Chief Tries To Reassure The Rank-And-File As Agency Levels Charges Against ‘Whipgate’ Agents

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Chief Chris Magnus promised discontented rank-and-file officials that the agency would always support them despite pursuing charges against agents involved in the now-debunked “whipgate” incident, an internal email obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller News Foundation showed.

When CBP personnel “do the right thing,” the agency “will always stand behind you,” Magnus wrote in the email before announcing the results of the investigation into the September incident that took place in Del Rio, Texas. During the incident, Border Patrol agents used reins to steer their horses and maneuver around migrants entering the United Sates at the Rio Grande, which prompted some Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocates to falsely claim the agents whipped migrants.

CBP proposed charging at least one agent with “poor judgment” for instructing noncitizens “to go back to Mexico, or words to that effect” and for “unsafe conduct” for maneuvering the agent’s horse “in a way that caused a noncitizen to fall backward into the Rio Grande River … thereby compromising the safety of the noncitizen, yourself, and your horse,” according to documents earlier obtained by the DCNF.

A Border Patrol agent stationed along the southern border, who spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, told the DCNF that Magnus’ attempt to reassure officials is meaningless.

“This administration continues to crumble what’s left of morale and is taking the U.S. Border Patrol to irreparable levels of destruction,” the agent said. “Standing behind someone has now taken a different meaning. Trust in leadership has been cheapened.”

The investigation, which looked into whether there were any internal policy violations during the incident, found that the horse-mounted agents never whipped migrants in Del Rio, Texas, when they were trying to control thousands of them that had illegally crossed the border, Magnus announced at a press conference Friday. (RELATED: Mayorkas Promised Border ‘Whipping’ Investigation Would Be Done ‘In Days, If Not Weeks,’ But It’s Been Six Months)

“We believe you are committed to doing the right thing even under the most difficult conditions and circumstances,” Magnus said in the email.

“Because CBP is a professional law enforcement agency, we will learn from this incident and find ways to do better at multiple levels and in many key areas,” he added.

Magnus said CBP did find that the accused agents “twirled” the reins of their horses and that one agent used harsh language toward migrants and acted wrongly when attempting to control the migrants.

CBP didn’t respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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