President Joe Biden will ban officials from using horses while securing the border, days after controversial photographs emerged of agents on horses confronting Haitian migrants the White House confirmed Thursday.
“[W]e will no longer be using horses in Del Rio,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the daily press briefing with reporters.
Psaki cited the ban as proof that the president was upset by the images, after members of Congress and activists voiced their outrage that these tactics were happening during Biden’s presidency.
Psaki defended Biden for failing to publicly condemn the images.
“His actions make clear how horrible and horrific he thinks these things are,” she said.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called the incident “worse than slavery.”
“I’m pissed,” she said during a press conference Wednesday. “And I’m not just unhappy with the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them. I’m unhappy with the administration. We are following the Trump policy.”
“Cracking a fucking whip on Haitians fleeing hardship shows you that this system simply can’t be reformed,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) wrote on social media.
This is so sick and @CBP will continue to commit human rights abuses if we don't stop it now.
Cracking a fucking whip on Haitians fleeing hardship shows you that this system simply can't be reformed. @OversightDems + @HouseJudiciary should hold hearings immediately + act. https://t.co/RLsG3EY6Fw
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 20, 2021
Biden’s Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pushed back on the claim that agents were using whips on people and that the images captured the long separated reins used to control their horses.
He later said he was “horrified” by the images and said the incident was under investigation.
Activists compared the border agents to slave hunters.
These images although centuries apart still seem to represent the worst of America’s capacity for humanity. @Potus if the plan is to #BuildBackBetter step 1 must be tearing down a foundation of oppressive practices. pic.twitter.com/bEkGDYl6Wg
— NAACP (@NAACP) September 21, 2021
Vice President Kamala Harris voiced her outrage at the photos on Tuesday calling for an investigation.
“I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there,” she said. “But human beings should never be treated that way. I’m deeply troubled about it.”