Republicans: Mayorkas Emails Show He Was Alerted that No Haitian Migrants Were ‘Whipped’ — ‘Resign’

Republican legislators are slamming Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, after an article stating he was alerted that no Haitian migrants were “whipped” by Border Patrol agents in September of last year. 

The September 24, 2021, dated email was sent by the assistant secretary of DHS public affairs, Marsha Espinosa, and alerted Mayorkas and other officials in the DHS of a news article that contained quotes from the photographer who took the images showing Border Patrol agents on horseback, where he denied he ever said agents were “whipping anyone.”

Following receipt of the email, Mayorkas had a joint press conference with Jen Psaki, then White House press secretary, where he condemned the alleged wrongdoing of the Border Patrol agents. “Our nation saw horrifying images that do not reflect who we are. We know that those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism,” said Mayorkas. 

An investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility found that there were no whips in possession of the Border Patrol agents, and reins struck no migrants. However, it found other infractions, including maneuvering a horse around a child in an “unsafe” manner and using “denigrating and offensive” language to migrants. Agents were also accused of pushing migrants back using “unnecessary use of force.”

Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina responded to the newly-provided emails and said if they were true, Secretary Mayorkas should resign. “If reports are true, then Secretary Mayorkas should resign. This is a failure of leadership and a complete betrayal of the hardworking Border Patrol agents who have been doing their best to maintain some control of the border in midst of this administration’s failed policies,” said Tillis.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas responded to the email saying, Mayorkas would be impeached in “just a few months,” with Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, also a Republican, asking Mayorkas, “Where is your integrity?” 

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican Senator from Tennessee, alleged that Sec. Mayorkas attacked the Border Patrol agents, although he knew the “whipping” claims were false. 

Representative Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona, tweeted that Mayorkas’ career “should be over.”

The email between Espinosa and Mayorkas and other  DHS officials was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Heritage Foundation.

Investigation ongoing despite Office of Professional Responsibility findings

The investigation into the incident is still ongoing after more than a year, despite the Office of Professional Responsibility’s findings. The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed the FOIA request with the Department of Homeland Security in March, asking for releasing all communications about the alleged whipping incident. In June, the Heritage Foundation sued after DHS didn’t produce the documents, resulting in the recently turned over emails. 

According to Brandon Judd, National Border Patrol Council President, the email is “smoking gun evidence.”

“It clearly shows they are willing to lie to the American people for their self-interests. They withheld facts, and anytime you withhold facts from the American people…you should step down from your job. Better men step down. This clearly shows they are not better men,” said Judd.

Federal sources say that the three agents on horseback and the supervisor still face possible discipline of 3 to 14-day suspensions and are working to respond to the accusations. Neither Mayorkas nor Biden has publicly acknowledged that the incident involved no whipping.