Rep. Frederica Wilson: Apprehension of Haitian Border Migrants ‘Looked Like Slavery’

(INSET: Rep. Frederica Wilson) A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. - The United States said Saturday …
Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty, Brynn Anderson/AP

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) became the latest Democrat lawmaker to compare the recent images of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents apprehending Haitian migrants at the southern border to slavery.

Local 10 reports:

Wilson kicked off the speeches Thursday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, calling on the Biden administration to immediately stop deporting people to Haiti. According to the congresswoman, some of the Haitians currently at the border have not lived in Haiti for 10 to 15 years and the country is not equipped to take them. Wilson also addressed controversial photos that surfaced this week, showing Border Patrol agents on horses using long reins against Haitians who were crossing back into Texas after going into Mexico.

“They looked like whips to me,” Wilson said, adding that the images she saw “looked like slavery.”

“I’m pissed,” the congresswoman said.

The Biden administration and Congressional Democrats have pounced on the images of horse-mounted CBP agents using so-called “whips” to prevent migrants from attempting to cross from Mexico into Texas, a charge that agents affirm is blatantly false.

“With basic knowledge and two brain cells, anyone knows those agents use split reins. They do use them as a whip, on their horses,” one agent told Fox News. “This helps get a quicker response from the horse to move out when needed, especially when the horse may be hesitant with groups of people or other animals.”

“Again it is clear that those ‘in charge,’ a term that is disgusting to use, have no clue about our operations and frankly operate by ignorance and unhinged emotions,” the agent added.

On Wednesday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed the photos of the agents apprehending migrants is “worse than what we witnessed in slavery

“What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years. What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery,” Waters, who serves as the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, said during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol.

“Cowboys with their reins in hand whipping black people, Haitians, into the water where they’re scrambling and falling down and all they’re trying to do is escape the violence in their country,” she added.

Many Haitian migrants camped in the small Texas border town are being released in the United States, two U.S. officials said Tuesday, undercutting the Biden administration’s public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion.

Haitians have been freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, according to one U.S. official with direct knowledge of operations. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter and thus spoke on condition of anonymity, put the figure in the thousands.

Many have been released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, an outcome that requires less processing time from Border Patrol agents than ordering an appearance in immigration court and points to the speed at which authorities are moving, the official said.

The Homeland Security Department has been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, and this week added flights to Tucson, Arizona, the official said. They are processed by the Border Patrol at those locations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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