Washington (AP) – US President Joe Biden has reacted with unusually sharp words to the use of mounted US border guards against migrants in the border town of Del Rio and announced the consequences.
“It’s scandalous. I promise you these people will pay for it, ”Biden said at the White House in Washington. The images of the mission are “terrible” and shameful. “It will have consequences,” he said. The camp of thousands of migrants in Del Rio has since been evacuated, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said.
A few days ago, images of border guards on horseback against migrants in the town of Del Rio, Texas sparked an uproar and put the US government in distress. Dramatic photos and videos showed officers on horseback aggressively rounding up migrants. Mayorkas then announced an investigation into the incidents.
Biden’s Clear Words
Biden said what happened there was “dangerous” and “wrong” and sent the wrong signal – nationally and internationally. With his sharp choice of words towards the border guards involved, the president was accused of influencing the investigation with preliminary convictions. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki dismissed this, saying Biden was only speaking “from the heart.” It is a “very human” reaction which reflects the feelings of many citizens when looking at the pictures.
The Minister of Internal Security stressed that the investigation of the border guards would only follow the facts and would proceed without prejudice. He will publish the results at the end. Mayorkas said the photos horrified everyone and brought back terrible memories of United States history. “These images painfully evoked the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing struggle against systemic racism.” He stressed that his ministry, on which the border guard depends, does not tolerate abuses against migrants.
Psaki had said on Thursday that the horses would not be used for border patrols in Del Rio at this time. When asked if these could be abolished altogether, Mayorkas said horses were useful for patrolling difficult border terrain and border guards on horseback had saved the lives of arriving migrants in the past. But the practice is being verified.
The migrant camp under the bridge is dissolved
In Del Rio, on the border with Mexico, thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, gathered in a matter of days and camped under a bridge – in an attempt to secure protection in the United States. They had taken the opportunity to walk from Mexico to Texas on the Rio Grande border river when the water level was low.
Mayorkas said 15,000 migrants had gathered in Del Rio in a very short time. It is unprecedented. Since September 9, a total of 30,000 migrants have arrived there. He announced that the camp under the bridge had been completely dismantled on Friday morning. About 2,000 Haitians were returned to their country of origin in 17 deportation flights. About 8,000 migrants have voluntarily returned to Mexico across the border. The others were housed elsewhere. In several thousand cases, we still check whether people have the right to stay.
Criticism of the deportations
In view of the precarious situation in this Caribbean country, deportations to Haiti have met with strong criticism, in particular from human rights organizations. In protest against the repatriations, the US special envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, also tendered his resignation on Wednesday. He called the expulsions “inhumane” and “counterproductive”.
Mayorkas defended the course against her. The US government had assessed the situation in Haiti and had come to the conclusion that the country was perfectly capable of accepting migrants. The United States has also supported the reintegration of returnees.
The minister also resisted criticism of the United States’ application of the so-called Title 42 rule. President Donald Trump’s administration put the policy into effect at the start of the pandemic and used it to seal in largely borders. Referring to the regulation, migrants have since been deported without having the opportunity to seek asylum. This is justified with the risk of introducing Covid-19. Mayorkas said it was a public health precaution. It is neither immoral nor unethical.