By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. Sept 23, 2021: President Joe Biden’s immigration czar and vice president, Caribbean American Kamala Harris, on Wednesday finally expressed “grave concerns” over the treatment of Haitian migrants at the US’ Southern border – three days after a whipping photo emerged from the border of a White border patrol agent using his reins as a whip on black Haitian migrants.
Her comments days later come as U.S. politicians from both parties have criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the migration situation at the border of the United States and Mexico.
Democrats have expressed anger over an incident over the weekend in which mounted U.S. border agents used reins like whips to intimidate migrants trying to cross the river.
On Wednesday, VP Harris reportedly “raised her grave concerns” about the incident in a call with Mayorkas and stressed the need for all border agents “to treat people with dignity, humanely and consistent with our laws and our values.” She said Mayorkas shared her concerns.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the agents involved had been pulled from front-line duties.
The White House has criticized the use of horse reins to threaten Haitian migrants after images circulated of a U.S. border guard on horseback charging at migrants near a riverside camp in Texas.
“Secretary Mayorkas shared the Vice President’s concern and noted that he looks forward to updating her on the investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility once it concludes,” Harris’s chief spokesperson Symone Sanders said.
Both Biden and Harris has actively pursued the Haitian vote in Florida to win in 2019.
Republicans for their part have continued their mantra that the Biden administration has encouraged illegal immigration by relaxing some of the hardline policies put in place by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
The US says over 500 Haitians have been deported back to Haiti while Wade McMullen, an attorney with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, said several hundred people, mostly pregnant women and parents with children, have been released in Del Rio, Texas, straining resources at a local volunteer-run welcome center.
“People are sleeping at the bus station outside or outside of the airport waiting for their bus or their plane,” to join family or other sponsors in the United States, he told Reuters.
US officials have been trying to clear the encampment under the international bridge in Del Rio, which reached as many as 14,000 people at its peak. Authorities have moved thousands away for immigration processing and deported 500.
This as border arrests have reached 20-year highs this year.