New video has emerged showing U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing away Haitian migrants that were attempting to cross the Southern border (watch above). Some of the agents appeared to threaten the migrants with horse reigns.
An agent can be heard shouting “Go back to Mexico!”
Later, that same agent asks a migrant, “Hey, you use your women? This is why your country is sh**, because you use your women for this.” It was unclear what the agent was referring to.
Images and video of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback grabbing and chasing down Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border have prompted the Department of Homeland Security to launch an investigation into the matter, the agency said on Twitter. https://t.co/PU2QXumduH
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 21, 2021
Speaking to NPR, a photographer on the scene provided details:
“I thought the Haitians were quite scared, and I think there was probably some panic which resulted in them trying to run around the horses,” photographer Paul Ratje told NPR’s Morning Edition.
“The agents tried to block them, and then the one agent grabbed a man by his shirt and then kind of swung them around,” said Ratje, who frequently covers border issues. “And I don’t know what prompted that.”
Al Jazeera reports:
US Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said the incident was being investigated to make sure there was not an “unacceptable” response by law enforcement. He said officers were operating in a difficult environment, trying to ensure the safety of the migrants while searching for potential smugglers.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the long reins are used by mounted officials to “ensure control of the horse”.
Mayorkas said the images of the various encounters “horrified” him, echoing a sentiment expressed by White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Appearing on CBS Mornings, Psaki said “This is not who we are. That’s not who the Biden-Harris administration is.”
Mayorkas said additional resources will be deployed to Del Rio, Texas where approximately 14,000 Haitians have set up camp, seeking entry to the U.S.
Thread: A day in the migrant camp of about 14,000, mainly Haitians, near the border bridge in Del Rio, Texas. pic.twitter.com/0BpD4EZsxR
— Molly Hennessy-Fiske (@mollyhf) September 20, 2021
According to a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility will be on site “full-time to ensure that the responsibilities of DHS personnel are executed consistent with applicable policies and training and the department’s values.”
The spokesperson added, “We are committed to processing migrants in a safe, orderly, and humane way. We can and must do this in a way that ensures the safety and dignity of migrants.”
The U.S. government has begun sending many of the Haitians back to their home country, which has been rocked by a recent earthquake and the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
“People coming to the United States illegally will be returned, your journey will not succeed,” Mayorkas said on Monday.