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San Antonio Rep. Tony Gonzales says agents filmed whipping reins at migrants 'doing God's work' 

click to enlarge Tony Gonzales is a first-term congressman representing Texas' 23rd District. - TWITTER / @TONYGONZALES4TX
  • Twitter / @TonyGonzales4TX
  • Tony Gonzales is a first-term congressman representing Texas' 23rd District.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district includes San Antonio, defended U.S. Border Patrol agents shown in a viral video appearing to whip the reins of the horses they were riding at Haitian migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

In a Tuesday interview with CNN, the Republican said the agents were "doing God's work" as they tried to stop migrants from crossing the Rio Grande River into Texas. Thousands of asylum seekers, primarily from Haiti, are now crowded into a refugee camp under a bridge in Del Rio. 

"It's a very desperate situation, and they're doing God's work, fighting everything they can," Gonzales told the cable network. He added that Border Patrol agents have been "working around the clock on this crisis for months on end."

Further, the congressman also argued that chaos around the migrant camp was inevitable. 

"The last thing any of us want to see is the mistreatment of anyone, to include migrants, but when you have tens of thousands of people and only hundreds of Border Patrol agents, it creates a very desperate situation," he said.

Video clips captured by Al Jazeera and Reuters over the weekend appear to show mounted Border Patrol agents thrashing long leather reins at migrants and charging at them with their horses. In one clip shared by by Al Jazeera reporter John Holman, an agent yells to a group of migrants, “This is why your country’s shit, because you use your women for this!”

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security called the footage "extremely troubling" and said it's conducting an investigation. Top White House officials, including Vice President Harris and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, have also expressed horror at the video.

A first-term congressman, Gonzales represents Texas' 23rd District, a wide swath of South Texas that includes a portion of San Antonio and roughly two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border. He ran with Donald Trump's endorsement and backed the former president's unfinished border wall.

Gonzales is no stranger to controversial statements. As a candidate, he made headlines when he repeatedly refused to identify the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist group during an interview. He also faced scrutiny for including footage of himself shaking hands with a fake Border Patrol agent in TV ads.

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