Washington | US Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mallorcas, said on Wednesday that images showing border police personnel pushing Haitian migrants on horseback at the US-Mexico border do not reflect US identity or US actions, all with such force.
• Read also: Haitian immigrants: Democrats and Republicans criticize Biden in unison
• Read also: Thousands of immigrants camp under a bridge on the southern border of the United States
In a shot taken by an AFP photographer, a border guard on horseback grabs a man by his shirt on the US side of the Rio Grande, the natural border between the two countries, near Del Rio, Texas.
On the other hand, he keeps a group at bay by twisting his reins, in a threatening position, to force them back towards Mexico.
Mr. Mayorkas assured the House Homeland Security Committee that these photos “do not reflect who we are as a country, nor what the US Border Police are.”
He noted that he had ordered an investigation and promised quick results “within a few days, not weeks.”
These photos, which spread around the world, caused an uproar in the United States, even close allies of President Joe Biden.
“These pictures make you sick,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Vice President Kamala Harris called it “appalling”, saying “human beings should not be treated this way”.
For some, these immigrants are compared to cattle herded by cowboys, or they remember the treatment African Americans suffered at the hands of mounted police, prison guards, or slave owners.
The US government is struggling to deal with the sudden and massive influx of thousands of immigrants, including many Haitians, who gathered under a bridge last week in the small border town of Del Rio, Texas.
And authorities began flying them back to their country, a decision he also criticized, as the tiny Caribbean nation plunged into a political, security and humanitarian crisis.
Thousands of migrants continued to cross the Rio Grande River on Wednesday in a bid to obtain asylum in the United States, camping under a bridge in Del Rio.
“We have a plan to respond” to the influx of migrants, said Mr. Mayorkas. “We apply it, it takes time and we start to see results.”
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