Desperate Deportees Attack US Pilot, Agents; VP Wants Probe Into Treatment of Migrants

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Haitian migrants queue for food in the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuna
Haitian migrants queue for food in the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuna

Deported Haitians assaulted U.S. immigration officers and a pilot at the Port-au-Prince airport as they desperately tried to scramble back on an expulsion flight even as visuals of mounted patrol agents charging at migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border undermined the Biden administration's promise of a "humane" treatment of the migrants.  

Minutes after a group of single men were flown back to Haiti and handed over to local authorities on the tarmac on Tuesday, a few of them stormed another flight that landed with deported families, NBC News reported. The men assaulted a U.S. pilot contracted to fly deported migrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

ICE officers on board were also attacked, but did not sustain any life-threatening injuries. 

"On Tuesday, Sept. 21, some adult migrants caused two separate disruptions on the tarmac after deplaning in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haitian crowd control officers responded to both incidents and resolved the situations," a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson told CNN

Scenes of desperation and anger were rampant among the deportees. Some migrants even broke into the airport’s restricted area to recover passports and personal belongings and attempted to get back on the plane before ground staff closed the flight door. According to Associated Press, migrants threw shoes at the plane and were seen yelling “This is abuse!" and “How is this possible?”

Meanwhile at the U.S.-Mexico border, Border Patrol agents on horseback with whips used aggressive tactics to deter migrants from crossing the border. Vice President Kamala Harris called the images from the border “horrible” and said she supported an investigation. 

"What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback, treating human beings the way they were, is horrible. And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there," said Harris.

Amid the deteriorating condition at the border, Democratic lawmakers last week urged the White House to suspend deportation. 
 
"The Biden Administration should follow suit, prioritize humanitarian relief over increased enforcement, and instruct the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately suspend deportations and expulsions indefinitely for noncitizens who pose no threats to public safety or national security," wrote the Democratic lawmakers in a statement to the DHS.

"The Haitian government’s ability to safely receive its citizens will take months, if not years, to secure."

Homeland Security plans to continue its expulsion flights. 

The shocking high-handedness at the border was in contrast with the Biden administration’s promise of more "humane" immigration laws. 

"The president remains committed to putting in place a humane and orderly immigration system that includes an established and efficient process for applying for asylum," reiterated Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, on Wednesday. 

However, the images at the border show that so far Biden has failed on his promise of creating a more humane set of immigration laws while securing the border. 

The White House’s approach has not only drawn bipartisan criticism but has also divided the house democrats. Some of Biden’s top aides are in support of stronger policies that would deter migrants trying to cross the border, while others are advocating a more welcoming approach. 

Many have even begun doubting Biden’s immigration promises during the campaign. "The question that’s being asked now is: How are you actually different than Trump?" Marisa Franco, the executive director of Latino civil rights organization Mijente was quoted by the New York Times. "You campaigned that immigration was one of the places where Trump was inhumane and failed. And last time I checked, Trump is not the president."

Over the weekend more than 14,000 Haitian migrants gathered under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Over 1000 Haitian migrants have been allegedly deported as of Tuesday. According to the DHS, about 4,000 migrants have either been deported or moved to other processing centers along the U.S.-Mexico border to disperse the crowd. 




Photo: AFP / PEDRO PARDO

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