Kamala Harris Supports Investigation Into Whether Border Patrol Was Whipping Migrants

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday that she supports the investigation into whether Border Patrol agents on horseback used their horse reins in an inappropriate manner towards Haitian migrants and that the U.S. should help the country so people don’t have to leave, according to a pool report.

Harris said she planned to discuss the allegations of Border Patrol horseback units using their long reins to whip migrants attempting to illegally enter the U.S. with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The agents appeared to try and herd the migrants back in the Rio Grande River back into Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported Monday.

“What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible,” Harris said. “And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. But human beings should never be treated that way. And I’m deeply troubled about it.”

Harris was appointed to address the root causes of irregular migration to the U.S. in March, according to the White House. She pointed to recent natural disasters in Haiti and the assassination of its president as reasons people would leave the country for the U.S., according to a pool report.

“People want to stay home, they don’t want to leave home, but they leave when they cannot satisfy their basic needs. So yes, this is a concern,” Harris said. She added that the U.S. should provide aid to the Haitians so they don’t have to resort to leaving their country. (RELATED: US And Mexico Working Together To Stem Flow Of Haitian Migrants, Some Deported Shocked To Be Returned To Haiti)

Mayorkas accused a Texas Tribune reporter of “assuming facts” when they asked about the horseback unit using the reins as whips during a Monday press conference in Del Rio, Texas. The horse patrol units were deployed after more than 10,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, set up a temporary camp under the Del Rio International Bridge in hopes of requesting asylum in the U.S.

“The Department of Homeland Security does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody and we take these allegations very seriously,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter and has alerted the DHS Office of Inspector General.”

“In addition, Secretary Mayorkas has directed that personnel from the Office of Professional Responsibility be on site full-time to ensure that the responsibilities of DHS personnel are executed consistent with applicable policies and training and the Department’s values,” DHS said.

Disciplinary actions are expected to be announced following a DHS investigation into the incident, according to the agency.

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