White House investigates ‘horrific’ footage of border patrol agents confronting Haitian immigrants – .

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White House investigates ‘horrific’ footage of border patrol agents confronting Haitian immigrants – .


White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the White House was seeking more information on the “horrific” viral videos that appear to show U.S. border patrol agents on horseback confronting Haitian refugees at the American border.

“I saw some footage. I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make it appropriate, but I don’t have additional details, and certainly I don’t have additional context, ”Psaki said during the White House press briefing. “I don’t think anyone seeing these images would think it was acceptable or appropriate. “

Videos taken by Al Jazeera and Reuters appear to show law enforcement officers on horseback using aggressive tactics in dealing with migrants, including authorities swinging long reins near migrants who crossed the US-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas.

A Reuters video shows the officers at the water’s edge, spinning the long reins as migrants cross the border on the US coastline of the Rio Grande. At one point in the video, the officer’s horse nearly ran into one of the migrants, who fell back into the water.

In the Al Jazeera video, a mounted law enforcement officer is seen twirling the long reins near a group of migrants. Not long before, another individual on horseback can be heard yelling at the migrants, saying, “Are you using your wives? That’s why your country is shit, because you use your women for it.

Although blasphemy was redacted in the video report, English Al Jazeera journalist John Holman posted the full quote – he attributed it to an anonymous border patrol agent – on his Twitter.

Then, as law enforcement officers try to lock up the migrants, one of the officers appears to be spinning the reins of the horse near one of the migrants.

The scene took place near an overcrowded makeshift encampment in Del Rio, where thousands of migrants – including families, pregnant women and babies – gathered under the Del Rio International Bridge. They sleep in the dirt, surrounded by growing garbage piles, exposed to the elements and without much food and water, in hopes of being treated by the overwhelmed US Border Patrol.

Pressed by reporters on Monday for a response to the footage, Psaki called it “horrible to watch.”

“I can’t imagine which scenario is where this would be appropriate, I’m definitely not suggesting it, but we just saw the footage earlier this morning,” she said. When asked if the officers seen in the footage should be fired for their actions in dealing with migrants, Psaki said, “Of course, they should never be able to do that again. “

“I don’t know what the circumstances would be. It’s obviously horrible, the pictures. I don’t have more information on that, so let me venture into it and we’ll see if there is more to pass on, ”she said. added.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has defended the use of mounted patrols, but said the department will investigate the situation. Speaking at a press conference near the border, Mayorkas said that according to the head of the US Border Patrol Raul Ortiz, long reins are used to ensure control of the horse.

« [B]But we will investigate the facts to make sure the situation is as we understand it, and if it is different, we will react accordingly, ”he said.

Speaking alongside Mayorkas, Ortiz said mounted patrol units play a critical role in the security response in Del Rio. “As you know, we have about half of this area locked, and we are working on trying to fully lock the other side of the bridge,” he said.

Ortiz said he had asked the Mounted Patrol Unit to make an assessment on Sunday to find out if people were in distress and to provide information and intelligence on the smuggling organization’s activities in and around the river.

“As the video and some photos show, migrants came and went. We don’t know who the smugglers are or who the migrants are, so it is important that these border patrol agents maintain a level of security both for themselves and for the migrant population, ”he said. .

Ortiz, who has said he has been riding a horse for several years, also noted the difficulty of operating on horseback in a waterfront environment.

Maintaining control of the horses “so that we are not in a position where we injure a migrant as he tries to cross this treacherous river is probably more important than anything,” he said. “And I’m pretty sure and confident that this is exactly what was going on, but we’ll definitely look into it, to make sure we don’t have any activity that could be interpreted as a response to an effort of.” law enforcement that is unacceptable. “

When asked if turning the long reins around migrants was a humane way to treat them, Mayorkas responded by saying, “You are assuming facts that have yet to be determined. “

Many Haitians currently at the border are believed to have been living in South America after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but the toll of the coronavirus pandemic in the region has fueled migration to the southern border of the United States.

Haiti is also still reeling from an earthquake in August that left more than 2,000 dead and thousands injured, as well as the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July. For these reasons, more than 50 Democratic lawmakers urged the Biden administration in a letter earlier this month to halt deportations to the country.

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