A new border patrol enforcement policy has been distributed to officers warning them not to enforce immigration laws or arrest migrants near waterways, walls, canals or other barriers. According to a CBP source, the policy most likely foreshadows pending administrative disciplinary charges against members of the agency’s Horse Patrol Unit, filed during the Haitian migrant crisis in Del Rio.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the document also warns against repatriating migrants without due process by encouraging them to return to Mexico. The memorandum from Tony L. Barker, acting chief of the Border Police’s Law Enforcement Directorate, was distributed Friday.
In particular, the document advises officers to follow the instructions given when arresting migrants in or near the immediate border area:
When encountering individuals in hazardous environments, Border Patrol Officers (BPAs) must take extra security measures for law enforcement. Whatever the situation, such as a river, canal or other waterway; the boundary fence, wall or other barriers keep the following general guidelines in mind:
When individuals “pile up” along the international border of the United States, BPAs may take deterrents, instruct not to cross and/or contact foreign government partners for assistance.
For everyone’s safety, it is recommended that BPAs do not attempt to arrest or detain anyone in a waterway, border fence, or other dangerous barrier. Arrests should be crazy in an area where it’s safe, like when the migrant comes ashore or comes off the fence.
BPAs will not forcibly return individuals to waterways or other unsafe environments.
BPAs will not forcibly remove anyone at the border from the United States. Migrants must be inspected and processed for appropriate dispositions.
The memorandum was accompanied by a presentation intended to educate border police officers about the new enforcement policy. The source says the document is likely to encourage officers to refrain from enforcement activities near the immediate border.
The source says the sudden spread of the new instructions likely foreshadows administrative disciplinary costs for the mounted officers involved in the Haitian migrant crisis in Del Rio last fall. In all likelihood, the Horse Patrol officers involved will be charged with endangering the migrants close to the river, alleging they tried to force them back without due process, the source explained to Breitbart Texas.
Four Horse Patrol Unit Border Patrol agents have been assigned to administrative duties since the charges were brought against them by DHS Secretary Mayorkas. The allegations stem from a widely publicized incident on September 19, 2021, near a makeshift open-air encampment with about 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants. Videos and photos taken by freelance journalist Paul Ratje were widely circulated and led to the first claims that officers were “whiping” migrants.
Further investigation led many to admit that the footage showed Border Patrol agents using long reins to control the horses. The photographer who captured the incident also denied witnessing the officers whipping the migrants.
In December 2021, the agents were acquitted of criminal misdeeds.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Before retiring, he served as Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations and led operations for nine border patrol stations in the Del Rio, Texas sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.