The White House and Department of Homeland Security announced Monday (September 20) that they are launching investigations into the treatment of Haitian immigrants at the southern border after "horrific" footage showed Border Patrol agents' confrontations with Haitian migrants using what appears to be whips and more.
"I've 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, and certainly I don't have additional context," Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. "I don't think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate."
According to CNN, the footage was taken by Al Jazeera and Reuters and apparently shows Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing migrants, swinging the whips at people. One clip shows an officer on horseback at the US shoreline of the Rio Grande who, at one point in the video, nearly charges directly into a person with the horse. The person falls back into the water after the officer makes the aggressive maneuver.
In another clip, a person can be heard yelling at the migrants, saying, "You use your women? This is why your country's sh*t, because you use your women for this." The Al Jazeera English reporter, John Holman, reported that a Border Patrol agent is the individual who made the statement, in a tweet.
The Department of Homeland Security announced it is launching its own investigation into the treatment of Haitian immigrants.
"The footage is extremely troubling, and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary action," the agency tweeted.
According to The New York Times, the Office of Professional Responsibility is leading the DHS probe, deploying a reported 600 additional personnel to the border where thousands of Haitian nationals have come to seek asylum in the US.
Haitian migrants have condemned the Biden administration's continued deportation of Haitians as the nation faces a humanitarian crisis, natural disasters, and a wave of political blow back following the assassination of their president Jovenel Moïse in July.
"If [Joe] Biden continues with these deportations, he's no better than [Donald] Trump," Johnson Bordes told The Washington Post.
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