President Joe Biden believed scenes of border patrol agents on horseback intimidating Haitian migrants were “horrific and horrible” and is fully committed to a Department of Homeland Security investigation into the matter, the White House said on Tuesday.
“I don’t know anyone who could watch that video and not have that emotion,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during an interview with CBS News.
The US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility launched a probe into the incident in Del Rio, Texas, to determine possible disciplinary action. Video from the site showed asylum-seeking migrants shielding their heads in what appeared to be fear of the agents on horseback using reins as whips.
“I think it’s important for people to know this is not who we are,” Psaki said. “That’s not who the Biden-Harris Administration is, and we’re going to absolutely pursue that investigation and get to the bottom of what happened here.”
The Department of Homeland Security also said it would be dispatching additional personnel to the border to help oversee operations as a growing group of Haitians seek entry into the US.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, joined other lawmakers in condemning the administration’s handling of the situation.
“Reports of the mistreatment of Haitian migrants fleeing violence and devastation from natural disasters are deeply troubling,” Pelosi said, calling for an investigation into “any acts of aggression or violence.”