DHS inspector general declines to probe use of horses to round up asylum seekers

The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security has declined to investigate the controversial deployment of horse-mounted patrols to round up Haitian and other asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas, in September.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection had referred the matter to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, which declined to investigate, the department said in a statement Tuesday.

Instead, the inspector general referred the matter back to CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which has launched an investigation into the incident, it said.

On Sept. 19, horse-mounted patrols were deployed to capture as many as 15,000 mostly Haitian asylum seekers camped under the international bridge.

The department said Tuesday that once its Office of Professional Responsibility’s probe is complete, CBP management will determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate.

“At that time, the employees will be afforded due process, including an opportunity to respond, and any corrective actions will comport with applicable laws and regulations,” the department said.

Videos and photos were widely published and attracted the condemnation of civil rights leaders.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Congress days later that he was “horrified” by the images and had referred the matter to the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and alerted the inspector general to it.

Jen Psaki, White House spokeswoman, told reporters that same day horses would no longer be used in Del Rio.

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