BORDER. Thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, illegally cross from one side of the border to the other. They camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. September 20, 2021. | Photo: Efe.
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, traveled Monday to the makeshift camp in Del Rio, Texas, where nearly 15,000 migrants have arrived crossing the border. He quickly became embroiled in a growing controversy over the treatment that US agents gave to these people, mostly Haitians.
The context: On Sunday, photographers captured along the Rio Grande as Border Patrol agents, mounted on horseback, tried to grab the migrants and used their animals to push them back to Mexico. In one video, an officer is heard shouting an obscenity as a boy jumps out of the horse’s path.
- Mayorkas told reporters in Del Rio that DHS would investigate the incident. On Monday night, as criticism mounted, the department issued a more formal statement with the announcement.
- The head of the Border Patrol, Raúl Ortiz, reported that he deployed the agents on horseback to “find out if there was an individual in danger and to be able to provide information and intelligence” on what was happening.
What do they say? “The Department of Homeland Security does not tolerate abuse of migrants in our custody and we take these allegations very seriously (…) the facts of the full investigation, which will be carried out quickly, will define the appropriate disciplinary measures that will be taken, ”the DHS statement reads.
- Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, denounced the agents’ behavior.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) described the scenes as “a stain” for the United States.
Main source of the news: The Washington Post.