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Border Patrol Agents Face Disciplinary Action for Treatment of Migrants

WASHINGTON — Four Border Patrol agents who were among those responding to Black migrants crossing the southwestern border in Del Rio, Texas, in September are facing disciplinary action for inappropriately using or threatening to use force against them, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced on Friday after an internal investigation.

The aggressive treatment partly stemmed from Border Patrol agents fulfilling a request from the Texas State Police “that directly conflicted with Border Patrol operational objectives,” Chris Magnus, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said at a news conference on Friday.

While a Border Patrol supervisor approved of the order, Mr. Magnus said, more senior officials at the agency were not immediately aware of the directive.

The findings came after a nearly 10-month investigation and were detailed in a 500-page report describing the episode, which crystallized President Biden’s struggle to rebuild an orderly system at the border with Mexico. “A lack of command, control and communications” led to “the unnecessary use of force against migrants,” the report said.

In addition to the conflicting commands, Mr. Magnus said, the patrol units on horseback who were deployed lacked training and supervision. While there was no evidence to corroborate accusations that the migrants were hit with the reins of one of the horses, Mr. Magnus said the investigation found that some of the agents acted unprofessionally and made “denigrating” comments.

The four agents have been moved to administrative positions. Mr. Magnus declined to describe the recommended disciplinary action because the review and appeal process was continuing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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