The U.S. has intensified efforts to eliminate a large influx of migrants mostly from Haiti who have invaded the Texas border town Del Rio over the last week. Photos and videos show border patrol agents using sometimes aggressive tactics to clear a crowded camp and deter others from entering the country.
A United States Border Patrol agent riding on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant [+] from entering an Encampment on the Rio Grande near Acuna Del Rio International Bridge, Del Rio, Texas, September 19, 2021. - Saturday's announcement by the United States that it will increase deportation flights for thousands migrant workers who have flooded into Del Rio, Texas, was part of an effort to address a growing crisis facing President Joe Biden's administration. (Photo taken by PAUL RATJE / AFP). (Photo taken by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images). AFP via Getty Images
The Key Facts
In the midst of ongoing instability in Haiti, thousands of Haitians have been camping under or around Del Rio bridges. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. authorities started sending migrants back to Haiti Sunday. They had already removed over 6,000 of the more than 12,000 floodwaters Del Rio residents by Monday. This caused some Haitians to return to Mexico in order to avoid being deported. Photographs and videos taken by reporters at the scene show Customs and Border Patrol agents riding horses to corral migrants trying to prevent them reaching a temporary refugee camp in Del Rio. Multiple images and at most one video show whip-like lengths swung at migrants. Another Al Jazeera video shows a border agent harassing a group of migrants who are trying to return to the refugee camp with food. Paul Ratje, a photographer who took some of these images, said that Border Patrol attempted to stop the migrants with their horses, after they tried to run past officers to the encampment. He claimed that he didn't see any of them struck but saw a migrant nearly being trampled. Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, accused a reporter of making assumptions about the facts. He said agents use long reins for control of horses, but that he will examine the facts to confirm the situation as it is.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, spoke out against the videos and images more strongly. She stated that she doesn't believe anyone would consider such footage acceptable or appropriate after seeing it, during a press conference. It is horrible to see.
CBP did not respond immediately to a request to comment on the images. Forbes was directed by the White House to Psaki's comments.
These images have already drawn harsh criticism from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), who accused CBP with human rights violations. Omar also tweeted that there should be a course correction and a clear directive about how to humanely process asylum seekers at our border.
Horseback Border Patrol agents look on as Haitian migrants rest on the Rio Grande banks near an... [+] campment. This is near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge, Del Rio, Texas. AFP via Getty Images
Two people are swept into the water by mounted officers trying to prevent them from entering the... AFP via Getty Images
In midst of chaos on the riverbank, a Border Patrol officer gestures to a man. AFP via Getty Images
Horseback Border Patrol agent uses his reins to try and stop migrants from reaching the... [+] campment. AFP via Getty Images
Border Patrol agents grab the shirt of a man holding food. AFP via Getty Images
Trapped: Migrants trying to evade U.S. law enforcement at the U.S. Mexico border (Reuters).