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US Alejandro Mayorkas, DHS chief, 'horrified' by images of US Border Patrol confronting migrants

17:15  21 september  2021
17:15  21 september  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday said he was "horrified" by images that appear to show US Border Patrol agents on horseback confronting Haitian refugees at the US border.

Alejandro Mayorkas wearing a suit and tie: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club on September 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mayorkas spoke about a range of issues, including domestic extremism, Afghan refugees and the U.S.-Mexico border. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club on September 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mayorkas spoke about a range of issues, including domestic extremism, Afghan refugees and the U.S.-Mexico border.

"I was horrified by what I saw," Mayorkas told CNN's Brianna Keilar on "New Day." "I'm going to let the investigation run its course. But the pictures that I observed troubled me profoundly. That defies all of the values that we seek to instill in our people."

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  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. © Provided by Associated Press Haiti migrants waiting in Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña to get access to the United States, cross the Rio Grande toward Ciudad Acuña to get supplies, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

Thousands of migrants -- many of them Haitian -- have gathered in a temporary site under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas as they wait to be processed by US immigration authorities. They sleep in the dirt, surrounded by growing piles of garbage, exposed to the elements and without much food and water, in hopes of being processed by the overwhelmed US Border Patrol.

Videos taken by Al Jazeera and Reuters appear to show law enforcement officers on horseback using aggressive tactics when confronting migrants, including authorities swinging long reins.

Reuters video shows the officers at the water's edge, twirling the long reins as migrants crossed the border at the US shoreline of the Rio Grande. At one point in the video, the officer's horse nearly charges into one of the migrants, who falls back and into the water.

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  Biden sends hundreds of border agents, steps up flights to remove Haitian migrants from south Texas The Department of Homeland Security released the Biden administration's six-point strategy to deal with the influx of migrants at the southern border.The sudden wave brought thousands of Haitians to Del Rio, Texas, many gathering near a bridge in the border town as the administration prepared a plan to deal with what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deemed a border crisis.

In the Al Jazeera video, a law enforcement officer on horseback is seen swirling the long reins near a group of migrants. Shortly beforehand, another individual on horseback is heard yelling at the migrants, saying, "You use your women? This is why your country's sh*t, because you use your women for this."

Although the profanity is redacted in the video report, Al Jazeera English reporter John Holman published the full quote -- he attributed it to an unnamed Border Patrol agent -- on his Twitter.

Then, as the law enforcement officers attempt to corral the migrants, one of the officers appears to whirl the horse reins near one of the migrants.

Mayorkas announced Monday that department would investigate the situation. When asked by Keilar if it was a "crisis," he called it a "heartbreaking situation" and a "tremendous challenge."

"I, by no means, diminish the humane issue that it presents, but I want to be clear that we do have a plan to address it, respecting the needs of the individuals and we are executing on that plan," he said.

U.S. removing migrants from Texas border camp, begins flights to Haiti

  U.S. removing migrants from Texas border camp, begins flights to Haiti U.S. removing migrants from Texas border camp, begins flights to HaitiDEL RIO, Texas/CIUDAD ACUÑA, Mexico (Reuters) -U.S. border agents are removing groups of mostly Haitian migrants from a large makeshift camp they had set up after wading across the Rio Grande separating Mexico and the United States, as the first repatriation flight arrived in Haiti on Sunday.

Mayorkas said US authorities have "moved approximately 4,000, perhaps more than 4,000 migrants, from under that bridge already," adding that they are moving more migrants "very quickly to other processing centers so that we can ensure their security and safety and the security and safety of the community."

He added, "We expect to see dramatic change in the next 48 to 96 hours."

Asked about President Joe Biden's reaction to the video, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday he "also felt they were horrific and horrible."

"I think it's important for people to know that's not who we are, that's not who the Biden-Harris administration is, and we're going to absolutely pursue that investigation and get to the bottom of what happened here," she said on "CBS Mornings."

Mayorkas, who on Tuesday defended the use of horse patrols, said the images defy "all of the values that we seek to instill in our people" and said the US government and humanitarian organizations have been working to address the situation.

"I saw the values that we do instill in our people in exhibition when I visited under the bridge and saw them work with the American Red Cross, the Department of Health and Human Services, World Central Kitchen, in addressing the needs of a vulnerable population of migrants under the bridge in Del Rio," he told Keilar. "That reflects who we are, and any mistreatment or abuse of an individual defies ... our values and who we are and what we stand for."

This story has been updated with additional reaction and background information.

Live updates: Biden vows action for treatment of Haitian migrants; Mayorkas says migrants gone from bridge camp .
Biden vowed action in his first extensive remarks on border patrol agents on horses who chased and seemed to whip Haitian migrants with their reins.“It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay. They will be investigated. There will be consequences,” Biden said in response to a reporter's question at the White House.

usr: 1
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