Border Patrol Haitian Migrant Investigation to Conclude in Days

  • Agents on horseback shown using reins against Haitian migrants
  • Probe undertaken ‘with tremendeous speed,’ secretary says

The Department of Homeland Security will complete its investigation into the treatment of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border “in days and not weeks,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

The department is conducting the probe with “tremendous speed and tremendous force” after video and photos appeared to show U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using reins to whip migrants in Del Rio, Texas, Mayorkas told members of the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday.

Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images
Haitian migrants on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 20, 2021.

Mayorkas said the images were “correctly and necessarily met with our nation’s horror.” The incident prompted widespread public outrage and rebukes from the Biden administration’s allies, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Immigrants’ rights advocates and many Democrats have also condemned the Biden administration’s decision to expel or deport thousands of Haitian migrants who’ve gathered in Del Rio.

The House Homeland panel “will hold the administration to its commitment” to process migrants in a safe and orderly manner, Chair Bennie Thompson (Miss.) said.

Biden Reacted in Horror to Video of Border Agents, Aide Says

The Border Patrol agents involved in the horseback incident are currently on administrative assignments and aren’t interacting with migrants, Mayorkas said.

The National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents thousands of Border Patrol agents, pushed back on the Biden administration’s response Tuesday. Agents were using “using authorized equipment and techniques to deter and prevent a large group of people from illegally entering the United States,” the organization said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at egilmer@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage at sbabbage@bgov.com

Top