By Niara Savage
On a Tuesday episode of “The View,” co-host Sunny Hostin called out the U.S. government’s handling of an influx of Haitian migrants after thousands arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border last week.
Last week more than 14,000 migrants, most of them Haitians, arrived at the border town of Del Rio, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande. Migrants are being kept under poor conditions under tents amid triple-digit temperatures without access to running water and a limited number of portable toilets. Some Haitians have been deported back to their country on flights from the U.S.
Images also surfaced this week of Border Patrol agents on horseback, chasing down migrants at the border and holding what appeared to be whips.
The White House said Monday it would investigate the “horrific” photos captured by Reuters and Al Jazeera photographers near Del Rio.
“I’ve seen some of the footage. I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don’t have additional details, and certainly I don’t have additional context,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing. “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”
Hostin said Tuesday, “It doesn’t have to be that way, because we know that the United States can do it. There is a way to do it, there’s just no will to do it.”
She continued, “The White House has promised to bring 95,000 Afghans here, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be brought here because they should be. But if you can bring 95,000 Afghans here, why are you sending 86 Haitians back on an airplane to a country that has been devastated?”
Meanwhile, Haiti has also been embroiled in a crisis. Even before Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July, there was a spike in violent crimes and kidnappings in the Caribbean nation. Then the death of the president plummeted Haiti into political uncertainty over who would lead the country.
An August earthquake in Haiti killed more than 2,000 people. In July, the Biden administration extended temporary protected status for Haitians living in the U.S. who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake.
Haitian national migration office chief Jean Negot Bonheur Delva told The New York Times his government expects 14,000 Haitians to be deported from the United States back to Haiti over the coming three weeks. However, Delva said, “The Haitian state is not really capable to receive these deportees.”
On social media, users responded to the images of Border Patrol agents on horseback, chasing down migrants. Commentator Angela Rye wrote on Twitter,
“Is it 1821 or 2021? Asylum is a human right, not a crime!”