A series of photographs in which you can see border guards on horseback by moving back to Haitian migrants near the river, in Texas, have caused a great controversy in the United States, whose government announced yesterday the opening of an investigation.
A photo from AFP Paul Ratje's photographer shows a policeman catching a man by the shirt. In another, it is seen an agent that keeps a group of people at bay by binding the reins in a threatening way.
Those images "of abuse of Haitian migrants at the border are horrible and very disturbing," said Democrat Bennie Thompson, chairman of the National Security Committee of the House of Representatives.
"It's a horrible to see," the white house spokesman Jen Psaki admitted to the press. "I do not have all the context, but I can not imagine in what context that would be appropriate," she added.
Equestrian patrols were deployed on Sunday near the River Bravo, where thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, camped with the hope of being authorized to enter the United States, said Raúl Ortiz, head of the Border Patrol.
"I asked them to find out if people were in danger and who collect information about smugglers," he added. "Controlling a horse in a river is difficult."
Apparently some agents used their long reins for migrants to cross from crossing the Bravo River on the Texas border with Mexico, the Security Secretary, Alejandro Maylakas said on Monday.
The incidents occurred when several migrants came to washed on the River Grande or tried to cross to look for food and take it to their family, who was in the camp on US soil, said photographer Ratje.
Suddenly five or six horse agents arrived and demanded people to return to Mexico.
"The situation was tensile and migrants began running around them (...) Many began to run to try to escape from the riders and one of the agents grabbed a man from the shirt and made him circling while the horse Trotted in circles, "said Ratje over one of the photos. "I do not think he was hurt," he added.
"We are going to investigate the facts to verify the situation and thus understand it," Majorkas said to journalists.
Speaking in the river, Maylakas said that Haitians were receiving false information on how to settle in the United States.
He said the Government will increase the repatriation flights for Haitians and that the US authorities consider them safe to return them to their country.
The Haitians, Menterkas explained, have been erroneously informed that they can stay in the United States as refugees under the "Temporary Protection Statute" (TPS), due to political agitation in Haiti and the recent earthquake that devastated it.
Mayorkas said fear that Haitians "are receiving false information that the border is open or that the temporary protection status is available."
"We have reiterated that our borders are not open and that people should not undertake that dangerous trip," he added. "If you enters the United States illegally, it will be returned."
The TPS has been available for years for the Haitians who remained in the United States after the gigantic Earthquake of 2010.
After the aggravation of the political crisis by the murder in July of President Jovenel Moise, the TPS was extended for all Haitians who were in the United States on July 29 or before, but not for those who arrive later.
"No one who has arrived at last week will be eligible to get the TPS," insisted Maykas.
"We did an assessment based on the conditions of the country," he added. "Haiti could receive people safely."Updated Date: 22 September 2021, 15:50