Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, speaking at the National Rifle Association (NRA-ILA) legislative action institute. PHOTO: Bloomberg by Daniel Acker.

(c) 2021, The Washington Post · Jonathan Edwards

Denouncing their actions as “outrageous,” President Joe Biden vowed that there would be consequences for border agents who were photographed attacking Haitian migrants trying to enter the country with their horses and bulls.

“Those people will pay,” said the president.

On Sunday, Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott delivered a different message for any federal agent facing trouble – the Lone Star State has a job waiting for you.

Abbott, said on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, that the officers were “just maneuvering their horses.” His actions were necessary, he added, because the Biden administration was failing in one of its most basic constitutional duties: “to safeguard the sovereignty of the United States of America.”

If any agent loses their job, Abbott said he will back them: “I will hire them to help Texas secure our border.”

Abbott made the offer two weeks after migrants, mostly Haitians, tried to enter the country by surprise and overwhelming immigration officials in Del Rio, Texas. A makeshift camp under that city’s international bridge once sheltered more than 15,000 migrants about a week ago.

Since then, federal officials have beefed up their resources at the Del Rio port of entry. On Friday, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS for its acronym in English), Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that they had removed all the migrants from the camp.

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Of the nearly 30,000 migrants who arrived at the border between September 9 and 24, around 12,400 of them were allowed to apply for asylum or some other form of humanitarian protection. Many of the Haitian migrants who arrived this month had been living in South America for more than a decade after an earthquake devastated their native country in 2010. As the Latin American countries hosting them were further destabilized by the pandemic, they decided to migrate north, some traveling for months from as far away as Chile.

But the Biden administration has already expelled thousands of other immigrants back to Haiti, without even giving them a chance to apply for asylum, under a public health policy that was controversial in the Trump era. Known as “Title 42” (“Title 42”), this provision, which has been in existence since 1893, has allowed federal officials to quickly expel Haitian and non-US migrants out of the US during the pandemic, bypassing the legal process. which gives them the right to make an application for asylum.

Some critics denounced the conditions of the Del Rio camp, as well as the manner in which the Biden administration, which promised a more humane approach to immigration than former President Donald Trump had, quickly deported thousands of Haitian migrants back to his native country – even as that country tries to recover from the assassination of its president in July and a devastating earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people last month. But photos and videos from Reuters and Al Jazeera, showing US border patrol agents on horseback throwing, chasing, grabbing, whipping and insulting migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande, drew the most criticism.

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki described the videos as “horrendous.” For her part, Vice President Kamala Harris said the agents’ treatment of migrants was “horrible” and said she would speak to Mayorkas about the matter.

“Human beings should never be treated that way, it caused me profound discomfort,” Harris said.

DHS officials have opened an investigation into what happened. On Friday, Mayorkas told the press that the investigation would be fair and that the results would be made public.

Wallace, the journalist and Fox News host, referenced the criticism while interviewing Abbott on Sunday.

“Governor, even if you think these agents are being used as scapegoats, does it cause you at least some discomfort to see the officers on horseback so aggressively confronting the Haitian migrants who were crossing over here?” I ask.

The governor responded by saying that federal agents “would not have been in that position if the Biden administration had enforced immigration laws and secured the border in the first place.”

Author Information:

Jonathan Edwards is a reporter on the Washington Post’s Morning Mix team. Before joining the Post, he covered public safety news for the Virginia-Pilot and the Lincoln Journal Star.

Read the original article here.



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