Biden condemns the therapy of Haitian migrants by the border police in Del Rio
United States President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA on Friday, September 24, 2021.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Joe Biden on Friday condemned the treatment of Haitian migrants by the Border Patrol in Del Rio, Texas, calling their actions “outrageous” and vowing that the agents responsible would be punished.
“It’s horrible what you’ve seen. To see people like them, with horses running over them, people buckled up, is outrageous,” Biden said at the White House, referring to a series of photos and videos showing border guards on horseback who have favourited Haitians snatch migrants trying to enter the US
“I promise you these people will pay. There’s an investigation going on and there will be consequences, ”he said.
It was the President’s first factual comment on the situation in Del Rio, Texas, where more than 10,000 Haitian migrants have attempted to enter the United States from Mexico since mid-September.
His government’s handling of the influx of migrants has drawn sharp criticism from immigration advocates and democratic lawmakers after photos and videos surfaced this week showing the harsh treatment of border guards.
Amid the public outcry, the government announced Thursday that it was halting the use of horses by agents in Del Rio, Texas.
Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas and Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz on Monday denied allegations that agents used whips in pictures and videos that sparked an outcry on social media. They said the agents took the reins to control their horses.
U.S. Border Guard agents on horseback attempt to deter Haitian migrants from entering a camp on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021.
Paul Ratje | AFP | Getty Images
Biden said he took responsibility for the crisis at the border and the actions of the border police depicted in the photos and videos.
“Of course I take responsibility,” said Biden. “I am the president.”
“It is dangerous. It is wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world and sends the wrong message at home, ”he continued. “We’re just not.”
The government’s deportation of Haitian migrants led the US special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, to resign on Thursday for citing inhuman treatment.
“Our political approach to Haiti remains very flawed and my recommendations have been ignored and rejected,” Foote said in a resignation letter received by NBC News on Wednesday.
More than 3,000 Haitian nationals have been placed in customs and border control custody for either deportation or expulsion under Title 42, a Trump-era health law that denies certain migrants the opportunity to seek asylum, the spokeswoman said White House, Jen Psaki said Thursday.
On return flights that began Sunday, a total of 1,401 Haitians were flown back to Haiti, with fewer than 5,000 Haitian migrants left under a bridge in Del Rio.
– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report
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