Posted on September 21, 2021

U.S. to Probe Incidents Involving Border Agents on Horseback Dispersing Haitians

Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, September 21, 2021

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday pledged to “swiftly” conduct an investigation into what it called “extremely troubling” footage of Border Patrol agents on horseback aggressively dispersing Haitian migrants, saying the internal probe could lead to disciplinary actions.

“The Department of Homeland Security does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody and we take these allegations very seriously,” a department spokesperson said. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter and has alerted the DHS Office of Inspector General.”

Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also directed department personnel to deploy to Del Rio, Texas to ensure that border officials there carry out their duties “consistent with applicable policies and training and the Department’s values.”

Over the weekend, news outlets captured photos and videos depicting mounted Border Patrol officials herding and chasing migrants who had crossed the Rio Grande {snip}

Some footage showed Border Patrol agents on horseback swinging lariats, a rope used by horse riders, while trying to block the passage of Haitian border-crossers, actions that fueled concerns that agents were whipping or threatening to whip desperate migrants.

In one video, a mounted agent is heard telling a migrant who huddled with a group of women and children, “This is why your country’s sh**, because you use your women for this.” The officer repeatedly tried to impede the man’s path.

The collection of photos and videos provoked significant uproar. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the videos “horrific” during a briefing Monday, saying, “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the House Homeland Security committee, said the mistreatment of Haitian migrants was “disturbing” and contrary to U.S. values.


“The image of Border Patrol officers on horses chasing black immigrants was horrifying,” said Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney {snip}