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Amnesty International Is Campaigning On Debunked Border Patrol Whipping Story

Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

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Ailan Evans Associate Editor
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Amnesty International USA is campaigning to reform the immigration system by circulating debunked claims that border patrol agents used whips to engage illegal Haitian migrants.

The advocacy organization launched a Facebook ad campaign Friday featuring several ads advancing claims that mounted Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents used whips to disperse Haitian migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The ads, each of which have an estimated audience size of over one million Facebook users and one of which has reached over 50,000 views, show images of CBP agents on horseback apprehending Haitian migrants.

“When videos were released of border officers on horses charging into crowds of Haitian asylum-seekers and their children, then violently dispersing them with whips — it wasn’t just those seeking safety who were under attack,” the three ads read. (RELATED: House Democrats Propose Defunding Immigration Enforcement Agencies Amid Border Crisis)

The ads refer to an incident in September in which many media figures, politicians, commentators and others advanced claims that CBP agents were whipping Haitian migrants after images emerged of mounting agents swinging their horse reins while apprehending illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the alleged actions while the agents involved were assigned to desk duty pending the results of a Department of Homeland Security investigation.

TOPSHOT - A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback uses the reins as he tries to stop Haitian migrants 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. - The United States said Saturday it would ramp up deportation flights for thousands of migrants who flooded into the Texas border city of Del Rio, as authorities scramble to alleviate a burgeoning crisis for President Joe Biden's administration. (Photo by PAUL RATJE / AFP) (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback uses the reins as he tries to stop Haitian migrants 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. (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

There is no evidence that border patrol agents used whips to apprehend Haitian migrants, and the claims have been disputed by multiple sources. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the agents were using reins to steer their horses, and photographer Paul Ratje, who took photographs of the incident, told KTSM he and his colleagues never saw anyone using a whip or being whipped.

“Outraged Americans saw that when violence against anyone happens without consequence, all of our human rights are threatened,” the ads read. “We also recognized and condemned the anti-Black racism behind the events.”

Amnesty International’s ads include a link to a sign-up page encouraging visitors to “take action” against the “unjust and inhumane treatment” in the U.S. immigration system by entering their name, email and phone number in a pledge to protect human rights. The sign-up page also claims that CBP agents were “brandishing whips while abusing and taunting Haitian asylum-seekers.”

After signing up, users then receive an email with a link prompting them to share an article declaring the U.S. immigration system “in open opposition to the right to life and liberty, the right to seek asylum, the right to safety from armed conflict, and the right to protection from cruel or inhuman treatment.” The article does not list any specific legislation it supports, but advocates for a “complete overhaul” of the U.S. immigration system.

Amnesty International USA did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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