Following photos taken of Border Patrol agents on horseback where officials mistook their actions for whipping Haitian migrants attempting to cross the border, Del Rio residents spoke in high support of the agents at the center of the investigation.
Speaking with Fox News, one longtime resident said: "It brought me to tears … These men are giving their lives, leaving their families, to come here and to secure us. I'm personally very thankful, and I appreciate that."
"I just want to say that we back the Border Patrol. We've been here for 54 years and I've never seen them mistreat nobody," the resident's wife said. "I've watched when there was a multitude of people coming, their kindness to them. They're not bad people. They're wonderful people and we back them completely."
"Don't lie about them, please don't lie about them," the woman added.
The images of the Border Patrol agents on horseback received harsh criticism from top Biden officials, who mistakenly said that these agents were whipping the Haitian migrants as they crossed the border.
The man that photographed the incident, Paul Ratje, said that he and his colleagues did not witness that. "I didn't ever see them whip anyone with the thing," Ratje said. "He was swinging it, but I didn't see him actually whip someone with it. Those definitely can be misconstrued when you're looking at the picture."
Biden stressed that there would be "consequences" and that these Border Patrol agents would "pay" for allegedly "strapping" the migrants.
An investigation into the matter is currently ongoing, with horse patrols being suspended in the Del Rio area.
Many residents in Del Rio felt that the agents were just doing their job, and that the photos depicted a different story than that spread by officials.
"At first I thought … 'Oh my god, what are they doing,'" one resident told Fox News. "Actually, when I saw the whole video, I saw it wasn't intentional. They were just doing their job." One woman noted that the agents were using split reins, not whips. Another said that the agency does not give their workers whips.
"What they're doing is putting just images, and when you see the video, they’re trying to get people not to cross back anymore," one resident responded. "I think they need to get a little bit more credit for what they do."