President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris harshly condemned the methods Border Patrol Agents used to apprehend Haitian migrants on Friday, CNN reports
“It’s horrible what you saw. To see people like they did, with horses, running them over, people being strapped, it’s outrageous,” Biden said at a White House conference. “I promise you: those people will pay… There is an investigation underway right now and there will be consequences.”
“It’s an embarrassment,” he continued. “It’s beyond an embarrassment. It’s dangerous; it’s wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world. It sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are.”
Echoing similar sentiments as Biden, Harris was shocked by the treatment of the Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border.
“I was outraged by it. It was horrible and deeply troubling,” she said during an appearance on The View on Friday.
Harris also expressed horror at the images and videos, comparing the actions of Border Patrol agents to slave owners.
“Human beings should not be treated that way, and as we all know, it also evokes images of some of the worst moments of our history, where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people in our country, has been used against African Americans during times of slavery,” she added.
As EBONY previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security launched an investigation into accusations of Border Patrol agents “whipping” Haitian migrants with ropes. Video footage and photographs surfaced of Border Patrol agents on horseback swinging lariats, a rope used by horse riders, and reins, while trying to divert Haitian migrants from crossing the border. More than 10,000 Haitian migrants who were seeking shelter under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas were deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—the beginning the mass deportations.
To justify the deportations, the administration has used Title 42 to ramp up the removal of migrants without allowing them to apply for U.S. protection. First enacted back in March 2020 under the Trump administration, the Biden administration has kept it on the books, citing the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent surge of migrants crossing the border.
Those who oppose the law have urged Biden to lift the measure because Border Patrol agents can deploy it to expel migrants forcibly, including those seeking asylum. Nevertheless, the administration continues to defend its use, the New York Times reports.
When asked if enforcing Title 42 was immoral, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security said that Border Patrol Agents were “dealing with a great number of individuals who are encountered at the border in a congregant setting.”
“That can cause the significant spread of a pandemic,” he added.
Harris said that the U.S. must find ways to assist vulnerable Haitians during the border crisis.
“We have to do more in supporting Haitians who are returning to the island, returning to Haiti,” she explained. “We have got to do more to support Haiti in terms of its needs to get back up and recover, in terms of the natural disasters.”