The Biden administration said late Monday that it is launching an investigation after the publication of photos and reports appearing to show U.S. Border Patrol officers on horseback mistreating Haitian migrants near the Rio Grande, images the White House and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee denounced as “horrific.”
The move comes one day after the Biden administration began deporting people from the makeshift camp where nearly 14,000 migrants have gathered beneath a South Texas bridge.
One photo by photojournalist Paul Ratje shows a Border Patrol officer on horseback, grabbing the shirt of a Haitian migrant holding bags of food and trying to enter an encampment near the river. Other footage shows mounted Border Patrol officers chasing migrants away. One of the officers can be seen swinging at one of the migrants with what appears to be a strap connected to the horse’s bridle.
“This is why your country’s [expletive], because you use your women for this!” another of the officers can be heard saying to the migrants, according to footage published by Al Jazeera English.>[Analysis: What one photo from the border tells us about the evolving migrant crisis]
In a statement Monday night, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson called the footage “extremely troubling” and said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has also been notified, and staff from the Office of Professional Responsibility have been directed to remain on-site full time, according to the statement.
“We are committed to processing migrants in a safe, orderly, and humane way,” the spokesperson said. “We can and must do this in a way that ensures the safety and dignity of migrants.”
The statement was more strongly worded than remarks made by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz at a press availability in Del Rio, Tex., earlier Monday.
Asked whether the images showed inhumane treatment by the Border Patrol officers, Mayorkas responded that reporters “are assuming facts that have not yet been determined.”
He added that Border Patrol officers sometimes use long reins “to ensure control of the horse” and that “we are going to investigate the facts to ensure that the situation is as we understand it to be.”
Video: White House pressed on treatment of Haitian migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border (Yahoo! News)
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/white-house-house-homeland-security-chair-denounce-horrific-mistreatment-of-haitian-migrants-by-border-patrol-officers/ar-AAODPm1531