A video showing Border Patrol officers on horseback using ropes to whip at Haitian migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande has garnered a strong reaction from the Biden administration and other politicians. Asked about the disturbing footage, which also shows agents charging and grabbing at asylum seekers, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the images “horrific.” She did not elaborate on whether the administration had any designs on walking back current plans to deport the migrants back to Haiti.
The asylum seekers in the video were part of a mass of more than 10,000 Haitians waiting at a makeshift camp in Del Rio, Texas. Low on supplies, they were allowed to cross back and forth to Mexico to collect food, but Reuters reported that on Sunday border agents abruptly reversed this decision. One agent, according to The El Paso Times, yelled, “Let’s go! Get out now! Back to Mexico!” as he herded men and women back into the river.
Several thousand in the camp have already been deported by US authorities back to Haiti. The country has been seized by back-to-back crises in recent times, with the effect of the assassination of the country’s president in July being compounded by a brutal 7.2-magnitude earthquake in August.