Reporter April Ryan doubled down on debunked claims that Customs and Border Patrol agents “whipped” Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border — even after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas informed her that no such whipping had occurred.
Ryan, the White House correspondent for The Grio, responded to an exchange that took place Thursday during a press conference with the Homeland Security chief — during which he addressed the expiring Title 42 immigration restrictions and what the border policy would look like going forward.
“Maybe its just me but!” Ryan tweeted, sharing a photo of two migrants, one of whom appeared to be attempting to escape as a mounted Border Patrol Agent grabbed his shirt. The split rein that the agent would normally use to control the horse could also be seen hanging freely from the horse’s bridle.
Maybe its just me but! pic.twitter.com/mfgkxc5i3f
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) May 11, 2023
When that now-famous photo first surfaced, many mistook the free rein for a whip and alleged that agents had “whipped” migrants at the border in order to prevent them from escaping into the interior of the United States.
Even the photographer who captured the image stated publicly that he had never seen agents whip anyone, but still the narrative persisted and President Joe Biden publicly criticized the agents — and he even called for a federal investigation into their behavior. That investigation determined that the Border Patrol agents had simply done their jobs and that no one had been whipped.
Despite the fact that the investigation was concluded over a year earlier, Ryan brought it up during Thursday’s press conference.
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Mayorkas on whip-gate: “The investigation concluded that the whipping did not occur.” pic.twitter.com/afcCOXopEt
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 11, 2023
“The southern border is not just Mexicans,” Ryan began, adding, “It is Haitians, it’s Africans, as we’ve seen particularly with that issue with the Haitians being whipped with the reins, or the horses, but what is there —”
“Well let me just correct you right there,” Mayorkas interrupted. “Because actually the investigation concluded that the whipping did not occur.”
Ryan was not deterred, however, claiming that she “saw it differently” and insisting that “they were whipped with something from the horse.”
She went on to suggest that either the photos or videos that circulated after the alleged whipping incident might have been somehow “fixed,” repeating once more that what she had seen “was totally different.”
“Yeah, I’m going to leave you as corrected,” Mayorkas replied before moving on to the next question.