Thousands of migrants camped under a bridge in the United States. Videos show mounted border guards with threatening gestures. Now US President Joe Biden has stepped in – in no uncertain terms,
After the outrage over the actions of mounted US border guards against Haitian refugees, US President Joe Biden spoke up with harsh criticism of the officials. “This is outrageous,” said Biden on Friday in the White House. “I promise you, these people will atone,” added the president. “There will be consequences.”
Photos and videos of the deployment of mounted border guards near the Texan city of Del Rio on the border with Mexico caused outrage at the beginning of the week. Among other things, one could see how a policeman on horseback takes a Haitian to his T-Shirt packs. In other pictures it looks as if police officers are threateningly swinging their long reins.
Mounted border guards in Del Rio drive refugees in front of them. The recordings not only horrified the US President. (Source: Felix Marquez / dpa)
Memories of violence against black people
Many felt reminded by the scenes of times when police officers on horseback or prison guards in the USA used whips to crack down on black people. Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday that the recordings were “awful” to watch. The government also came under pressure from within the ranks of Biden’s Democratic Party. The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily stopped the use of mounted border patrols in the area.
Thousands of Haitians are currently trying to get to the United States from Mexico. Pictures of at times more than 15,000 people who stayed under a bridge in Del Rio caused a sensation. This camp has now been dissolved, said Minister of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday. The last of the predominantly Haitian migrants either left the place themselves or were taken away. “This morning there are no more migrants in the camp under the Del Rio Bridge,” Mayorkas told journalists at the White House.
Camp is cleared
Around 2,000 people were brought back to Haiti in 17 deportation flights, he said. Others were taken to shelters along the border. “Many of them will be brought back to Haiti from there,” added the minister.
It is estimated that 8,000 migrants have voluntarily returned across the border into Mexico, Mayorkas said. Around 12,400 people would be heard by immigration judges to decide whether or not to stay in the US. In 5,000 other cases, the homeland security authority is examining a possible repatriation. A total of 30,000 migrants have arrived in the small border town since September 9.
The US authorities are now flying Haitians to Haiti on deportation flights and sending others back to Mexico. But this approach also meets with sharp criticism in the Democratic Party.