Vice President Kamala Harris Tuesday said she was “deeply troubled” by images of Border Patrol officers attacking desperate Haitian migrants at the southern border — and called for an investigation.
The first Black vice president said she wants to know why officers on horseback used ropes or whips to intimidate frightened Haitian men, women, and children near the border town of Del Rio, Texas.
“What I saw depicted … is horrible,” Harris said. “Human beings should never be treated that way.”
Harris said she planned to discuss the issue later Tuesday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Antonio Mayorkas.
Texas Democrat @RepCuellar corrects CNN host who’s upset about border agents on horseback: “The picture you’re talking about, at least the one I have seen, is the rein, the rein of the horse … What are they supposed to do, just stand there and let everybody come in?" pic.twitter.com/csFE4gwkTm
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 21, 2021
The veep, who was speaking after an event promoting President Biden’s economic agenda, spoke as the serious situation along the southern border continued to deteriorate. Thousands of migrants are gathered on the U.S. side of the border and more are just across the Rio Grande in Mexico hoping to follow.
Harris said the situation should be a wake-up call for the U.S. to do much more to address the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, where an earthquake last month killed hundreds and caused widespread devastation.
“As a member of the Western Hemisphere, we’ve got to support some very basic needs that the people of Haiti have,” Harris said.
Harris has been tapped by President Biden to find solutions to the surge of migrants along the southern border, with decidedly mixed results.
Like migrants from Central America, impoverished Haitians will continue to try to come to the U.S. unless the economic and political situation improves in their homelands, Harris said.
“People want to stay home. They don’t want to leave home,” the vice president said. “But they leave when they cannot satisfy their basic needs… This is a concern for all of us.”
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