The United States Department of Homeland Security have pledged on Sept. 20 to “swiftly” conduct an investigation after footage showed border agents on horseback dispersing Haitian migrants.
Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN that the department was “very troubled” by the images and videos captured by news outlet that showed border agents using horse reins to chase migrants near an encampment under a bridge connecting Del Rio, Texas to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
“We are going to let the investigation unfold very, very quickly, determine the facts, and we will take the action that is appropriate based on those facts. The facts will drive the conduct we employ to hold anyone accountable for the violation of our policies,” Mayorkas said.
“We will not tolerate any mistreatment of an individual,” Mayorkas further said.
According to U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, the incident was being investigated to ensure that there was not an “unacceptable” response by his officers, adding that the agents were operating in a difficult environment and were trying to search for potential smugglers among some 13,000 mainly Haitian migrants.
In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the footage as “horrific.”
“I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate,” Psaki said.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Sept. 21 that he was “shocked by images of the deplorable conditions” of the makeshift camp in Del Rio and called for the U.S. government to “immediately and fully” lift Title 42, an emergency public health order that allows authorities to quickly expel migrants before they can claim asylum.
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