'Justice for J6' rally, migrant expulsion plan, Emmy Awards: 5 things to know this weekend
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© Paul Ratje/Getty Images A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. Paul Ratje/Getty Images
- Rep. Tony Gonzalez defended US Border Patrol agents who were filmed whipping at Haitian migrants.
- The Texas Republican said the agents were "doing God's work fighting everything they can."
- The Department of Homeland Security has opened an investigation into the treatment of the migrants.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Rep. Tony Gonzalez, a Texas Republican, defended US Border Patrol agents who were filmed riding on horseback and using their reins to whip at Haitian migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border.
US nears plan for widescale expulsions of Haitian migrants
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration worked Saturday on plans to send many of the thousands of Haitian immigrants who have gathered in a Texas border city back to their Caribbean homeland, in a swift response to the huge influx of people who suddenly crossed the border from Mexico and congregated under and around a bridge. © Provided by Associated Press Haiti migrants waiting in Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña to get access to the United States, cross the Rio Grande toward Ciudad Acuña to get supplies, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
Gonzalez argued that the law enforcement agents were "doing God's work" by attempting to prevent the migrants from crossing the river on Sunday near Del Rio, Texas. Thousands of Haitian migrants hoping to seek asylum in the US are currently sheltering in a squalid makeshift refugee camp under a bridge in Del Rio.
"It's a very desperate situation and they're doing God's work, fighting everything they can," Gonzalez told CNN of the officers in a Tuesday interview. He argued that "chaos" is inevitable under the current circumstances.
"The last thing any of us want to see is the mistreatment of anyone, to include migrants, but when you have tens of thousands of people and only hundreds of Border Patrol agents it creates a very desperate situation," he said.
Haitian deportees start over in country they don’t recognize
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Claile Bazile doesn’t know where she and her 2-year-old son will stay once they leave the hotel where officials temporarily set aside rooms for some of the hundreds of people streaming into Haiti after being expelled from the U.S. in the past couple of days. The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Haiti last month and killed more than 2,200 people also destroyed her family’s home. “They’re out on theThe 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Haiti last month and killed more than 2,200 people also destroyed her family’s home.
Haitian migrants told reporters that they were forced to leave the camp to find water and food for themselves and their families, including many young children. Many of them waded across the river to retrieve sustenance in Mexico and then attempted to return to the camp.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday called the images of the Border Patrol agents whipping and yelling at barefoot migrants carrying bags of food "horrific" and "horrible." The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that it has opened an investigation into the treatment of the migrants.
Gallery: Shocking photos show Haitian migrants swimming across the Rio Grand into Mexico and being confronted by Border Patrol agents on horses (Business Insider)
Shocking photos show Haitian migrants swimming across the Rio Grand into Mexico and being confronted by Border Patrol agents on horses
- Some 14,000 mostly-Haitian migrants settled under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Friday.
- The Biden administration is using Title 42 to deport the migrants and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Photos show the migrants' journey as they seek asylum.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Photos captured between Friday, September 17, and Monday, September 20 show Haitian migrants trying to navigate the humanitarian crisis at the US and Mexico border.
How did so many Haitian immigrants end up at the southern US border?
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Sunday 3,300 migrants have been removed from the Del Rio Camp either to planes or detention centers since Friday.But how did these Haitian migrants make their way to Texas instead of entering from Florida — a state that's closer to the Caribbean nation?
Some of the estimated 14,000 mainly Haitian migrants that ended up in Del Rio, Texas, seeking asylum following a massive earthquake and the assassination of the Haitian president, began heading back to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Monday, to avoid being deported by the US.
Thousands of migrants had settled underneath a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, in the heat where essentials such as food, water, and restrooms were scarce.
President Joe Biden, who had discontinued some of Trump's immigration policies, leading migrants to believe the US was more open to migrants, has begun deporting migrants back to Haiti, The New York Times reported.
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The mayor of Del Rio, Texas declared a state of emergency on September 17 following the settlement of thousands of mostly Haitian migrants underneath a bridge in Del Rio.
Del Rio Mayor Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano is working alongside Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Chief of the US Border Patrol Raul Ortiz to find a solution at the border and to deport migrants, the mayor said in a tweet on Sunday.
'Disaster of epic proportions:' Border deaths on the rise, Border Patrol increases rescues
As border deaths climb, Border Patrol this year has launched more migrant rescues than ever before. It's also helping identify their remains.Grey clouds offered some respite from the searing summer heat. Brown shrubs and cacti stretched to the horizon. His radio was quiet. For now.
Some Haitian migrants were spotted moving back towards Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on September 20, to prevent being deported back to Haiti.
Desperate to not return back to Haiti, some migrants have begun moving from Texas back into Mexico. CNBC reported that at least 100 migrants were heading back to Mexico.
As of Sunday, September 19, the US had flown 3,300 Haitians back to Haiti.
Haitian migrants were captured on photo wading through the Rio Grande.
US Customs and Border Patrol agents were photographed using whips to prevent Haitian migrants from joining the other Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.
Those who tried to return with resources on Sunday were met by US Customs and Border Patrol agents on horseback who were armed with whips.
"I have seen some of the footage," Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said to reporters during a news briefing on Monday, referring to video of the CBP agents scattering migrants. "I don't have the full context. I can't imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don't have additional details. … I don't think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate."
U.S. Protections for Some Haitian Migrants Partially Responsible for Border Surge
"We are very concerned that Haitians who are taking the irregular migration path are receiving misinformation that the border is open," said the homeland security secretary.The Biden administration cited security concerns and social unrest in Haiti this spring when it extended temporary protections to some Haitian migrants living in the U.S. The protections were limited only to those who already were living in the U.S. before July 29, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
According to The Washington Post, the Border Patrol agents eventually let the migrants in through the border.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet on Monday that the current "immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants."
"This is a stain on our country," she continued.
"Video and photos coming out of Del Rio showing US Border Patrol's mistreatment of Haitian migrants along the border are horrific and disturbing," Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, told The Post.
"This mistreatment runs counter to our American values and cannot be tolerated," he added.
The Department of Homeland Security responded to the footage on Monday.
The Department of Homeland Security said that CBP is currently investigating the crisis, according to PBS anchor Yamiche Alcindor.
"Secretary Mayorkas visited Del Rio today and witnessed the extraordinary work of DHS personnel," DHS spokesperson said in the statement. "The footage is extremely troubling and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken."
"We are committed to processing migrants in a safe, orderly, and humane way. We can and must do this in a way that ensures the safety and dignity of migrants," the statement concluded.
DHS and CBP did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
The Biden-Harris Administration will continue invoking Title 42 — an order issued by Trump.
The Biden-Harris administration has challenged courts for the ability to invoke Title 42 and despite activists' cries to end it.
Live updates: Biden vows action for treatment of Haitian migrants; Mayorkas says migrants gone from bridge camp
Biden vowed action in his first extensive remarks on border patrol agents on horses who chased and seemed to whip Haitian migrants with their reins.“It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay. They will be investigated. There will be consequences,” Biden said in response to a reporter's question at the White House.
"If you come to the US illegally, you will be returned," said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Monday news conference. "Your journey will not succeed."
Title 42 is an immigration policy issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention during Trump's presidency that allows the swift deportation of migrants as a measure to keep COVID-19 from spreading.
Steven Forester, an immigration policy coordinator at the US-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, told Al Jazeera that the order is entirely "unconscionable."
"There's no way Haiti can handle the people that are in Haiti now given the conditions there. It can't provide for these people," he added.
"The footage is extremely troubling, and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken," the agency said in a statement.
Video footage taken by Al Jazeera English showed agents on horseback using their reins as whips as they charged the migrants and tried to push them back into the river. One agent yelled at a group of men and women, "This is why your country's shit because you use your women for this."
Haiti is suffering from urgent humanitarian and political crises. In July, the president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated when gunmen stormed his residence. The country's top prosecutor has since said there's evidence the acting prime minister played a role in the assassination. Meanwhile, the United Nations has reported that 800,000 Haitians were impacted by the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the country last month, which killed more than 2,000 people.
"Everyone knows what we Haitians are going through," one Haitian migrant told an Al Jazeera reporter on the banks of the Rio Grande. "There's no president. Crime is high. Students can't go to school. There's no work. The economy is down. People can't put up with that."
The US government has begun deporting thousands of Haitian migrants back to Haiti, even as the Haitian government pleads for a "humanitarian moratorium" on such removals.
Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called the US officers' actions human rights violations.
"These are human rights abuses, plain and simple. Cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law," Omar tweeted on Monday. "This needs a course correction and the issuance of a clear directive on how to humanely process asylums seekers at our border."
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The US owes a debt to Haiti. Why experts say of their shared history led to a migrant crisis on the border .
The Biden administration faces backlash for deporting Haitian migrants. Experts say foreign interference has always stunted the country's progress.Instead of providing shelter and refuge for the migrants, the US continued to deport Haitians to Port-au-Prince after years of being targeted by imperialism and xenophobia, and what experts say as history repeating itself.