On Tuesday, Cuellar appeared on “CNN Newsroom” to discuss the ongoing border crisis as well as the viral images of Border Patrol agents on horses apprehending Haitian migrants that were crossing the border illegally.
“Let me ask you about some of the images we’re seeing of border guards on horseback chasing or charging migrants on these horses. At least one appears to use what looks like a rope or a lasso,” Blackwell said.
Cuellar quickly emphasized that the border agents did not carry any whips or lassos while interacting with the migrants.
“Certainly, we got to make sure we treat all the immigrants with respect and dignity, but I will say this. Border Patrol has had those horse brigades for a while. They’ve had them for a while, number one. Number two, they don’t carry whips, and they do not carry lassos.
“Should those be used, even if it is a rein?” Blackwell asked.
“If there was a problem, it should be investigated, and I think that’s it. But we cannot paint the Border Patrol with the same type of paintbrush. What are they supposed to do, just stand there and let everybody come in? They’re supposed to be enforcing the law,” Cuellar answered.
When Blackwell pressed further on the incident in the images, Cuellar reiterated that the situation is being investigated, though the agent did not carry a whip.
“Again, that incident will be looked at, but again, that’s not a whip. That is not a lasso. They do not carry that. That seems to be the reins from the horse itself,” Cuellar said.
“You’re creating a distinction between swinging a rein at someone verses using a whip. I don’t know if, as we heard from the White House, that they make that distinction,” Blackwell responded.
On Monday, various journalists and Democrat lawmakers repeated the narrative that Border Patrol agents were using whips against migrants attempting to cross the border in Texas. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz debunked in a Monday statement, the claim that border officials use whips.
The White House maintained the view that the images were “horrible.”
“I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate,” press secretary Jen Psaki said