Border Patrol Agents Seen Holding Apparent Whips While Preventing Haitian Immigrants From Border Crossing
White House Secretary Jen Psaki called the footage "horrific."
September 21, 2021 at 3:53 pm
Al Jazeera English released a painful video on Monday showing Border Patrol agents cracking apparent whips while riding horses to intimidate Haitian immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
In the video, a chaotic scene is captured with multiple agents on horseback using horses and seemingly cracking whips to block and deter immigrants from crossing the border.
.@CBP is whipping Haitian refugees seeking asylum.😳— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) September 20, 2021
This is both grotesquely inhumane & also illegal. Seeking asylum is a human right. It is accomplished by crossing the border and asking for asylum. Blocking asylum seekers violates American law. pic.twitter.com/vVJKkvUBRU
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the footage "horrific," Yahoo reports.
"I have seen some of the footage. I don't have the full context. I can't imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don't have additional details," she said during a Monday White House briefing. "I don't think anyone seeing that footage would think it's acceptable or appropriate."
Haiti has been in turmoil since the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July, which is currently under investigation. The country suffered a massive earthquake the following month, killing over 1,000 civilians and injuring countless others.
Al Jazeera English spoke to a Haitian immigrant named Nicolas, expressing that the country has no access to sanitary products or food.
"Sanitary products, they aren't any. There isn't any food either. They do not give you anything," Nicolas told the outlet.
As Blavity previously reported, the Biden administration plans to deport the thousands of Haitians who've been staying in a temporary camp under the Del Rio bridge.
"What kills me about that is that everyone knows what we Haitians are going through," Nicolas continued. "There's no president; crime is high, students can't go to school, there's no work, the economy is down — people can't put up with that. Deportation is not good for us."
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) lambasted the scene at the border.
These are human rights abuses, plain and simple.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 20, 2021
Cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law. This needs a course correction and the issuance of a clear directive on how to humanely process asylums seekers at our border. https://t.co/tdDN70Hz1z
"These are human rights abuses, plain and simple," Omar wrote when resharing the video.
"Cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law. This needs a course correction and the issuance of a clear directive on how to humanely process asylums seekers at our border."
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York reflected similar views, calling the act a "stain on our country."
Fox Los Angeles correspondent Bill Melugin shared another clip, showing thousands of migrants gathering underneath the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing to the U.S. illegally.
It doesn’t matter if a Democrat or Republican is President, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 20, 2021
Immigration should not be a crime, and its criminalization is a relatively recent invention. This is a stain on our country. https://t.co/PZKYN4WLyj
NEW: We are back underneath the international bridge in Del Rio, TX, this morning, where up to 12,000 migrants are still camped out after crossing into the US illegally. Conditions here are similar to a third world refugee camp. @TxDPS has secured area while BP works. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/HKFPYuZZMp— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 20, 2021
The Guardian reports Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, are looking into the agents' actions at the border, but did not see anything wrong with the photos or video released.
Paul Ratje, the photographer who caught the viral photo, recounted the incident with The Washington Post.
"I get to the scene, and everybody is crossing there," he began. "We get in the water and — a few other colleagues were in the water, I wasn't the only one who was there — and all of a sudden some police showed up, and they started trying to get people to leave. Then the Border Patrol agents on horseback arrived, and they started trying to get people to leave," he said.
"They had gotten a lot of people to start leaving the banks, but then people just kept coming across the river," Ratje continued. "There was a continuous flow, and the agents were like: 'No, you can't come in. Go back to Mexico.' But people were like, 'But my family's over there."
Mayorkas added his sentiments to the situation, stating he's noticed an "influx of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas," and his team is "surging resources."
Washington Post correspondent Arelis Hernández confirmed Ortiz is “getting a good handle on the migrant population under the bridge,” moving "3,300 in last couple of days."
We have sent a very clear message early on, in light of the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, that the border is not open, and people should not take the perilous journey here.— Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (@SecMayorkas) September 20, 2021
We are getting to the point that we are “getting a good handle on the migrant population under the bridge,” said @USBPChief Raul Ortiz said, adding they want to move 3,000 migrants over the next 24 hours. Moved 3,300 in last couple of days.— Arelis R. Hernández (@arelisrhdz) September 19, 2021