A furious mounted Border Patrol officer was filmed shouting at an illegal Haitian migrant who appeared to push women in between himself and the horse for protection.
The unnamed guard is heard to shout, ‘You use your women like this? That’s why your country’s sh*t’ at the man during the encounter along the border between Acuna in Mexico and in Del Rio in Texas on Monday.
It is unclear who the migrant was, or whether the women he was with were relatives in the clip shared by Al Jazeera amid President’s Biden latest border disaster.
The group scattered moments after being confronted by the Border Patrol officer, and it is unclear if they made it into the United States, or returned to Mexico.
Footage captured a U.S. patrol officer yelling at Haitian refugees who were crossing into Texas
About 15,000 refugees have made shelter near the Rio Grande in Texas following the departure from their native Haiti
Around 15,000 Haitians have gathered at the southern border after hearing that the US would halt deportations because of instability in their home nation.
The Caribbean island was hit by the assassination of its president Jovenel Moise in June, with its prime minister Ariel Levy named as a suspect in the killing.
And in August, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that has killed at least 2,000 people.
The massive instability has been triggered by an unofficial White House amnesty on Haitian migrants crossing into the US.
But the Biden Administration has performed a rapid U-turn in recent days after seeing the influx of migrants crossing into the US, and has now begun deportation flights to Haiti.
Many of those who made it to Del Rio were forced to live in appalling conditions under a bridge in sweltering heat, and have subsequently been bussed away.
Most of those scheduled for deportation are lone adults, with families who have children more likely to be allowed to remain in the United States.
The influx of Haitian people is the latest crisis to hit the Biden Administration, with a huge surge in the number of people caught crossing the southern border in recent months.
A total of 208,887 were apprehended in August, 213,534 in July, and 189,020 in May.
More than 1.5 million have crossed so far this year – triple the 458,000 caught making the same trip last year, although that figure was lower than usual because of COVID.
But the figure for the first eight months of 2021 is still far higher than the 977,509 crossings for the same period in 2019, and the 521,090 crossings in 2018, when Donald Trump was president, and had more hardline immigration policies in place.
Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris – who has been tasked with handling the border crisis – have faced mounting condemnation for failing to bring the issue under control.
Refugees filmed by John Holman, the Al Jazeera reporter who captured the confrontation clip, told him of what they’d endured to make it to the border.
‘We’ve got our families inside, dying of hunger, we’ve had to go out to buy food,’ one refugee said.
Another refugee named Nicolas told Holman of the conditions in the camp and the treatment they have endured.
‘Sanitary products? There aren’t any. Food? There isn’t any either. They don’t give you anything!’, Nicolas said.
Nicolas continued why they left their country as the U.S. has started deporting refugees back to Haiti.
‘What kills me is that everyone knows what we Haitians are going through,’ he added.
‘There’s no president, crime is high, student’s can’t go to school, there’s no work, the economy is down, people can’t put up with that. Deportation is not the answer.’
Officers yelled ‘no!’ at refugees in an attempt to threaten them to turn back
The video also reported that Haitians crossed into the country after going through areas of South America such as the Darien Gap, a crime hot spot notorious for rape and robbery.
Images of Border Patrol agents on horseback began emerging on Sunday as the Department of Homeland Security ramped up deportation by restarting removal flights of Haitian migrants back to their homeland after these flights were paused by President Joe Biden in February.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commented on the video on Monday calling the situation ‘horrific’ and ‘horrible’.
‘I’ve seen some of the footage. I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don’t have additional details, and certainly I don’t have additional context,’ Psaki said at a briefing.
‘I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.’
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas shared the same reaction and said that 5,000 migrants have been removed from the encampment on Tuesday.
‘So last week, I think the high point was 13,000-15,000 – it is now well below 10,000. We continue to move individuals from Del Rio to other processing centers to facilitate their repatriation,’ the DHS secretary said.
Three planes full of Haitian migrants departed San Antonio on Sunday and landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which led to thousands making the trip back across the Rio Grande River on Monday from Del Rio, Texas.
‘We have increased the number of repatriation flights to Haiti and to other countries,’ he added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the images of the refugees ‘horrific’ on Monday
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wouldn’t take responsibility for the massive Haitian migration crisis and revealed during a Senate Homeland Security hearing Tuesday that around 5,000 were removed from the encampment near the Del Rio International Bridge
On Sunday, however, agents and officers on horseback started preventing migrants coming back to the camp from stepping foot back on U.S. soil. They were also rounding up the illegal immigrants to be put on flights back to their home country.
DHS also dispatched additional personnel to oversee future border patrol operations near the makeshift encampment after already sending 400 border agents and officers to the area to help quell the flow of migration into Del Rio.
The new goal from the agency is to get around seven removal flights out of the U.S. back to migrants’ homelands each day.
Mayorkas said that the department will launch an investigation into that the refugees endured at the camp but will not take responsibility for the crisis.
Biden and Harris have not visited the US side of the Rio Grande Valley – where the majority of the migration crisis has taken place.
Neither the president or vice president have addressed the latest developments or the new DHS strategy to deport these migrants.
One of the reasons for the migration is because Haitians are attempting to escape the horrific conditions of the country following a massive earthquake
Former Haitian president Jovenel Moise was assasinated in July
The reasons for the influx of Haitians traveling to the U.S. are multifaceted. The rise in Haitian migration began soon after President Biden took office when he began reversing former President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies. Many Haitians interpreted this as the U.S. being more open to immigration.
‘False information, misinformation and misunderstanding might have created a false sense of hope,’ said Guerline M. Jozef, the executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, last month Haiti experienced another devastating earthquake last month and the assassination of the President Jovenel Moïse in July – leaving gangs to wreak havoc on the capital. This led many Haitians to flee their homes and leave the country.
‘In Haiti, there is no security,’ said Fabricio Jean, a 38-year-old Haitian who arrived in Texas with his wife and two daughters. ‘The country is in a political crisis.’
In addition, many Haitians who are traveling to the U.S. are among the estimated 250,000 Haitians who left Haiti after the 2010 earthquake for Chile and Brazil. But since the pandemic, both countries have suffered economic declines which has sparked the current influx of migrants trying to reach the U.S.
As a result, thousands have flocked to Del Rio after crossing narrow sections of the Rio Grande River.