Politics Psaki Announces Del Rio Border Patrol Will No Longer Use Horses in Response to False ‘Whip’ Narrative
US nears plan for widescale expulsions of Haitian migrants
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration worked Saturday on plans to send many of the thousands of Haitian immigrants who have gathered in a Texas border city back to their Caribbean homeland, in a swift response to the huge influx of people who suddenly crossed the border from Mexico and congregated under and around a bridge. Details were yet to be finalized but would likely involve five to eight flights per day that would begin Sunday, according to an official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Thursday that Border Patrol agents will no longer be permitted to use horses to guard the border in Del Rio, Texas, after “horrific” photos emerged of agentswhile interacting with Haitian migrants.
The announcement comes after the media caused a frenzy by falsely portraying the videos and photos as showing agents hitting the migrants with whips. It was later revealed that the agents were in fact wielding the long reins that make it easier to maintain control of their horses, according to Border Control chief Raul Ortiz.
US border agents get help on custody work, return to field
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dozens, even hundreds, of asylum-seeking migrants often wait hours to surrender to U.S. Border Patrol agents, but the thousands of Haitians gathered at a bridge in the small Texas border town of Del Rio may be unprecedented and point to a glaring problem with the federal police agency's staffing. Instead of conducting patrols and uncovering smuggling activity, its agents spend about 40% of their time caring for people already in custody and administrative tasks that are unrelated to border security.
An unnamed Border Patrol agent told Townhall’s Julio Rosas that mounted agents often twirl their reins to keep migrants at a distance so they’re not crushed underfoot.
Ortiz said that he did not believe that the reins had been used to strike any refugees and none of the photos or videos that have circulated of the interactions appear to show the reins making contact with migrants.
Still, amid mounting concerns among members of the president’s own party over the inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants, Psaki announced that the use of horses at the border will stop.
Jon Anfinsen, president of the Border Patrol union’s chapter in Del Rio, condemned the decision in ato Rosas on Thursday.
“The horse patrol unit is an effective means of apprehending immigrants who illegally cross our borders every day, along with searching for those who are sick or injured and stranded in the brush,” Anfinsen said. “Suspending them all for even a brief amount of time takes away one of the few remaining units that have been in the field making arrests and rescues on a regular basics.”
White House: 'Horrific' to see border agents on horses chasing Haitian migrants, should 'never' happen
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing Haitian migrants isn't 'acceptable or appropriate.'"I've seen some of the footage, I don't have the full context. I can't imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don't have additional details, and certainly, ... I don't think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate," Psaki said at Monday's White House press briefing.
Psaki’s announcement came during a press briefing on Thursday when she was asked what Biden believes about the comparison being made between his administration and the Trump administration, particularly by Democrats including Representative Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) who said Wednesday that she was “unhappy” with the Biden administration which she believes is “following the Trump policy.”
The press secretary said Biden has asked outreach team members of his national security team and homeland security team to “explain clearly what our policy is and what our policy is not.”
“We could not see it as any more different from the policy of the prior administration, which the president feels — we all feel — was inhumane, immoral, ineffective, wasn’t operationally working and, because of the dysfunction of it, we have led to a very broken system that we’re dealing with today.”
WhatsApp, social posts helped lead Haitian migrants to Texas
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — For the final leg of his journey from Chile to the United States, Haitian migrant Fabricio Jean followed detailed instructions sent to him via WhatsApp from his brother in New Jersey who had recently taken the route to the Texas border. His brother wired him money for the trip, then meticulously mapped it out, warning him of areas heavy with Mexican immigration officials. “You will need about 20,000 pesos (about $1,000 U.S. dollars) for the buses. You need to take this bus to this location and then take another bus,” recounted Jean, who spoke to The Associated Press after reaching the border town of Del Rio.
She said the president would like to convey there is an investigation being done into the “horrific” pictures.
“I can also convey to you that the secretary also conveyed to civil rights leaders earlier this morning that we will no longer be using horses in Del Rio so that is something, a policy change that has been made in response,” she said.
She went on to argue that it is “important for people to understand” the administration’s immigration process, which includes expelling migrants under the title 42 public health order because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, the White House vowed to increase deportation efforts, saying it would send five to eight planes of migrants back to Haiti per day. The flights began on Sunday and more than 500 migrants have been removed, Reuters reported. Single adult males are the priority for expulsion, while many family units are being admitted.
The U.N. refugee chief said expelling the migrants back to Haiti could violate international law by sending refugees back to life-threatening situations.
'Disaster of epic proportions:' Border deaths on the rise, Border Patrol increases rescues
As border deaths climb, Border Patrol this year has launched more migrant rescues than ever before. It's also helping identify their remains.Grey clouds offered some respite from the searing summer heat. Brown shrubs and cacti stretched to the horizon. His radio was quiet. For now.
Still, Psaki defended the administration’s actions when asked if it still views the mass deportations as humane despite criticism from fellow Democrats.
“First of all they’re not deportations, people are not coming into the country through legal methods and again our policy process has continued to be the same with Haiti as it is for anybody coming through irregular migration across our border,” she said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. special envoy forresigned on Wednesday over the Biden administration’s “inhumane” and “counterproductive” deportation of thousands of Haitian refugees.
Foote wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he was stepping down immediately “with deep disappointment and apologies to those seeking crucial changes.”
“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” he wrote in the letter, first obtained by PBS. “Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.”
Mexican forces surround border migrant camp
CIUDAD ACUÑA, Mexico (AP) — A camp where more than 14,000 migrants had waited along the Texas border just days ago was dramatically smaller at dawn Thursday, while across the river in Mexico, Haitian migrants in a growing camp awoke surrounded by security forces as a helicopter thundered overhead . Both governments appeared eager to end the increasingly politicized humanitarian situation at the border, even as the U.S. expulsion of Haitians to their troubled homeland caused blowback for the administration of President Joe Biden.
Asked why the administration would go ahead with a plan against the special envoy’s advice, Psaki said there had been “multiple senior level policy conversations on Haiti” in which all proposals were fully considered in a rigorous policy process. She added that “some of the proposals were harmful to our commitment to the promotion of democracy in Haiti,” though she declined to go into further detail.
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'Amistad' binds Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña amid migrant crisis .
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — Amistad — Spanish for friendship — binds the sister cities of Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. Each year, the border communities that sit across the Rio Grande from one another come together to celebrate that bond during the Fiesta de la Amistad. Leaders from both sides of the border meet at the festival and share abrazos, or hugs, to commemorate their common history and an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to build the Amistad Dam and Reservoir in the 1960s. The relationship shows in many ways, with workers and families typically going back-and-forth between Acuña and Del Rio daily.