President Biden spoke out for the first time about the makeshift migrant camps in Del Rio, Texas and how those Haitian migrants were treated, as the camps were cleared out on Friday.
The White House is facing sharp bipartisan condemnation. Democrats and many pro-immigration groups say efforts to expel thousands of Haitians without a chance to seek asylum violates American principles and their anger has been fueled by the images of Border Patrol agents that went viral this week.
It took the President days to express his feelings, but has now made his revulsions about about the border patrol agents who corralled and struck the Haitian migrants with their reins, clear.
“I was horrified to see it. To see people treated like they did. Running over people. People being strapped. It’s outrageous and they will pay. There will be an investigation and there will be consequences. It’s beyond an embarrassment, it’s dangerous, it’s wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world. It sends the wrong message at home and not who we are,” said President Biden.
Those agents are now on administrative leave and horses are no longer being used by border patrol agents in the area.
South Florida politicians and civic leaders condemned the mistreatment and the deportation flights to Haiti.
“I am pissed. No one should be deported to Haiti now,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, Miami-District 24.
A total of 17 so-called “expulsion flights” carrying some two-thousand Haitians have landed in Port-au-Prince. Additional Haitian migrants may be sent home as well after immigration hearings.
“Approximately 12,400 individuals will have their cases heard by an immigration judge to make a determination on whether they will be removed, or permitted to remain in the United States,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.
At the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center in North Miami on Friday, some of the first migrants from Del Rio were being helped.
“I hope they get the benefits for needy families,” said Josette Jovier from the Sant La Haitian Center.
It is still not known how many Haitian migrants will wind up in South Florida, but catholic charities and other church related organizations have said they will help get them settled.