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US treatment of asylum-seeking Haitians an ‘embarrassment,’ Biden says

President decries ‘outrageous’ roundup of Haitians along the US-Mexican border by mounted guards

 

US President Joe Biden has called the treatment of Haitians on the US border with Mexico an “embarrassment”.

“It was horrible what you saw … it’s outrageous,” Mr Biden said, referring to footage of mounted US border guards lashing at Haitians with the long leather reins.

Speaking for the first time on the crisis, Mr Biden said it was “beyond an embarrassment”.

“It’s dangerous, it’s wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world. It’s simply not who we are,” he added.

The US Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced an investigation into the treatment of migrants along the US-Mexico border.

“I promise you those people will pay … There will be consequences,” Mr Biden said, in reference to the investigation.

US Vice President Kamala Harris threw her support behind the investigation this week, saying “human beings should never be treated that way and I am deeply troubled by it”.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced on Thursday that border patrol agents would no longer be using horses in Del Rio, Texas, the border town where as many as 14,000 migrants had gathered in recent days.

The group is seeking asylum in the US as their Caribbean nation grapples with the aftermath of a presidential assassination and an earthquake.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said that the mounted officers involved in the incident have been suspended, pending an investigation.

The Biden administration has already deported hundreds back to Haiti even though many had been living for years in South America before attempting to enter the US.

The Biden administration has drawn widespread criticism for its handling of the crisis.

On Thursday, the US special envoy to Haiti, Ambassador Daniel Foote, resigned over how the Biden administration has handled the deportations.

When asked about Mr Foote’s resignation, Mr Mayorkas said that is a matter for the State Department and stressed that it is this administration’s intent to continue to “accept refugees from all over the world”.

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