Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday defended U.S. Border Patrol agents seen charging at migrants on horseback, saying he would hire them if they fear being fired.
“You have a job in the state of Texas,” he told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”
Images surfaced last week showing Border Patrol agents moving on horseback with reins against Haitian migrants seeking to enter the United States in Del Rio, Texas, though the photographer later said some of the pictures could be “misconstrued” as showing the agents behaving badly when they weren’t.
The Department of Homeland Security said it would launch a full investigation, and President Joe Biden said the footage shocked him. “It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay,” Biden said Friday.
Abbott said the fault for any misbehavior should be placed on Biden and members of his administration because they didn’t keep the Haitian migrants from crossing from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas.
He also said that Texas was going to assume some of the functions of border control, even though the U.S. Constitution assigns the federal government that responsibility.
“I’m going to step up and do whatever I have to do,” Abbott said, “to make sure that I protect the people of Del Rio, as well as all these other communities in the state of Texas that the Biden administration is ignoring.“
Abbott’s appearance on “Fox News Sunday” followed that of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who defended the administration’s overall handling of the situation in Del Rio as legal and appropriate, including the release of some of the migrants into the country pending immigration hearings.
“What we do is follow the law,” he said.
Mayorkas also noted that this type of situation at the border with Mexico was not uncommon, citing 2010, 2014 and 2019 as other years that saw sudden spikes in migration. He said these types of recurring situations proved that immigration reform is urgently needed.
“There is unanimity about the fact that our immigration system is broken and legislative reform is needed,” Mayorkas said.