A border policeman appears to be chasing people who are trying to get into the United States with a whip. Such images are currently causing a stir. And President Biden doubles the limit on the admission of refugees.
Images of the use of mounted US border police against Haitian refugees have caused excitement and outrage in the USA. US President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday the footage was “awful” to watch. Although she does not know the exact background, she also does not know in which context such a procedure could be “appropriate”.
“I don’t think anyone who saw these footage would consider it acceptable or appropriate,” said Psaki. Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas announced an investigation during a visit to the border area. “We’ll look into the facts.” If necessary, there will be consequences.
Recordings bring back memories
Photos by photographer Paul Ratje, who works for the AFP news agency, and video recordings show how mounted border guards in the state of Texas on the border with Mexico act against refugees from Haiti. For example, a policeman grabs a man by his horse while riding T-Shirt.
In other pictures it looks as if police officers are threateningly swinging their long reins. Internet users felt reminded of the times when police officers on horseback or prison guards in the USA used whips to crack down on black people.
Ratje said the border police tried to block the way for the refugees as they crossed the border river Rio Grande. “Some of the migrants ran off and tried to get past the riders,” said the photographer. This is where his recordings were made. But the situation soon calmed down.
Biden government wants to double intake of people
The US government has meanwhile announced that it intends to take in twice as many refugees in the coming year as in the current year. The upper limit for the admission of particularly vulnerable people in the course of a resettlement is to be increased from the current 62,500 to 125,000 people, said the US State Department. The ministry said there was a greater need for so-called resettlement because of “humanitarian crises around the world”. President Biden had promised this amount just a few weeks after taking office at the beginning of the year.
In the meantime, however, the Democrat had drawn criticism from the left wing of his party because in the spring he had initially not increased the upper limit of 15,000 for the current financial year – still decreed by his predecessor Donald Trump. However, under pressure from various quarters, he made up for that now.
Trump had lowered the upper limit several times during his tenure, most recently to 15,000. That was the lowest number since the program was launched in 1980. Before Trump’s term in office in 2016, the limit was 85,000 people. The refugees are usually checked in their countries or regions of origin and, if successful, are brought to the USA by plane.
No protection status for Haitians entering illegally
But this new development cannot help many people: Thousands of Haitians are currently trying to cross the border between Mexico and the USA. In the meantime, more than 14,000 people have waited under a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio.
Migrants wade through the Rio Grande: The US is flying Haitians camping in a Texas border town back to their homeland and preventing others from crossing the border from Mexico. (Source: Fernando Llano / AP / dpa)
Many of them apparently mistakenly believe that they can be tolerated in the USA. The Haitians would receive “false information” “that the border is open or that temporary protection status is possible,” said Homeland Security Minister Mayorkas.
“We have repeated that our borders are not open and people shouldn’t take the dangerous journey. Anyone who comes to the US illegally will be deported.” The US is betting on expanding deportation flights to Haiti.