President Joe Biden has slammed the border agents who whipped migrants from horseback in Del Rio, Texas as people tried to enter the US after fleeing natural disasters and political turmoil in Haiti.
“It’s horrible what you saw. To see people like they did, with horses, running them over, people being strapped, it’s outrageous,” Mr Biden said on Friday.
“I promise you – those people will pay,” he added. “There is an investigation underway right now and there will be consequences.”
“It’s an embarrassment,” the president said. “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. It’s simply not who we are.”
An investigation has begun following video footage emerging earlier this week showing border agents on horseback aggressively trying to push back migrants, and at times swing long reins towards people on the ground.
Administration officials and congressional Democrats have shared their anger over the behaviour of the border agents. The Department of Homeland Security has suspended the use of horse patrols for the time being.
“Of course I take responsibly,” Mr Biden told reporters. “I’m President.”
Democratic California Representative Maxine Waters said during a press briefing on Wednesday: “What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years. What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery.”
“Cowboys with their reins, again, whipping Black people, Haitians, into the water where they’re scrambling and falling down when all they’re trying to do is escape from violence in their country,” she added.
“I’m pissed. I’m unhappy and I’m not just unhappy with the cowboys, who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them,” Ms Waters said. “I’m unhappy with the administration.”