Inhumane Haitian Migrants Treatment Reminds Many Of Historic Slavery Images
Thousands of Haitian migrants took shelter at an encampment under a bridge on the Texas border last Saturday. Now, the site at Del Rio, Texas, is empty of the 15,000 Haitians seeking asylum after the Biden Administrations’ mass deportation on Monday. The Biden administration has received criticism about how the situation was handled after recent images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horsebacks holding whips have gone viral.
Images of the treatment of Haitian migrants resemble that of historical representations of slavery-era whippings. And widespread outrage after the viral images emerged had many calling out the Administration, local and federal officials.
The NAACP shared on their social media on Tuesday side-by-side images of a recent photo from the U.S. border with a historical drawing of an African slave being struck with a whip by a white man on a horse.
“If the plan is to #BuildBackBetter, step 1 must be tearing down a foundation of oppressive practices,” they tweeted.
Vice President Kamala Harris commented on the horrific images during an appearance on ABC’s The View on Friday morning.
“I was outraged by it,” Harris said. “It was horrible and deeply troubling. There’s now been an investigation that has been conducted, which I fully support, and there needs to be consequences and accountability.”
Harris said that the treatment of the migrants “invoked images of some of the worst moments of our history where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people of our country and has been used against African Americans during times of slavery.”
“The United States is a member of the Western Hemisphere,” she continued. “Haiti is our neighbor in that regard … We got to do more, without any question, to support Haiti in terms of its’ need to get back up and to recover.
President Joe Biden also spoke on Friday condemning the actions of U.S. Border Patrol agents. He promised that the agents would “pay” through an investigation, saying the photos were “horrible to see.”
“There will be an investigation underway now, and there will be consequences,” Biden told reporters. “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.”
Congress Representative Maxine Waters claimed that the treatment was “worse than what we witnessed in slavery.” On Wednesday, waters spoke at a press conference, stating that she was “unhappy” with how the situation was handled.
“What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years,” Waters exclaimed. “What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery … cowboys with their reins, again, whipping black people.”
U.S. Border Patrol Defend Using ‘Whips’
Officials have disputed media claims that the border patrol agents “whipped” the Haitian migrants, claiming it as a “training technique.” National Border Patrol Council Vice President Art Del Cueto stated on Tuesday that the agents “were not whipping anyone.”
“They don’t carry whips,” said Del Cueto. “They don’t get assigned whips. What they do is a training technique that has been shown to them to make sure that no one takes over their horse. It was to protect the horse, to protect the rider, and to protect the individual that was trying to cause chaos and knock down that rider from that horse.”
But, none of the Haitian migrants captured on video during the incident seemed to be trying to knock down the riders, as Del Cueto claimed. Nor did they seem to try to take over their horses. The individuals, many with children, were not “trying to cause chaos” at all.
The migrants can be seen on video trying to dodge the agents on horses, some carrying bags of food and resources, attempting to get across while the agents forcibly try to block them, even pushing them into the Rio Grande while shouting, “This is why your country’s s-t.”
What Happened to the Thousands of Haitian Migrants?
Now, only a couple of hundred migrants remain at the Texas border camp, a drastic change from the thousands seeking asylum just days ago. County Judge Lewis Owens told The Associated Press that all migrants would be removed by the end of the day.
“We gave TPS (Temporary Protective Status) to Haitian migrants – 55,000,” Harris told the View. “More recently we extended Temporary Protective Status to over 100,000 Haitian migrates for that very reason – that they need support and they need protection including reunification with those who have family members in the United States who are American citizens and doing that through the legal process that was intended to benefit people who are fleeing harm and reunify them with their family.”
Many migrants still faced expulsion, despite this Temporary Protective Status, because this protection did not cover them overall.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials has said that about 2,000 Haitians have been rapidly expelled on 17 flights since Sunday, with more expelled in coming days under pandemic powers that deny people the chance to seek asylum. A denial will return them to the country they desperately fled after the earthquake over a decade ago.
According to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the U.S. has allowed about 12,400 migrants to enter the country temporarily. They will have to make claims before an immigration judge to stay in the country under the asylum laws. They could ultimately be denied and would be subject to removal. About 8,000 migrants have decided to return to Mexico voluntarily, and about 5,000 are in DHS custody and being processed to determine whether they will be expelled or allowed to press their claim for legal residency.