Celebrities and politicians alike are speaking out against the mistreatment of Haitian migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border after the exposure of disturbing images of United States Border Control Agents riding horseback and using whips against those fleeing the Caribbean country.
One of the celebrities to be vocal about the human rights issue was R&B singer Chris Brown. He used his Instagram story feature to share photos of Haitian people and call on billionaires to help solve the problem.
“I hope everyone is seeing what is happening with the people of Haiti at the border!!!!!!!!!,” wrote Brown. “All the fuc*ing billionaires in that state alone should be trying to help. We have no peaceful strategies.. Hurding us up like cattle farmers… Hey everyone… Please take a fuc*ing look at what’s going on!! Please!!!??????”
Screenshots of his story were captured and shared by the entertainment website The Neighborhood Talk.
Garcelle Beauvais also spoke out against the harsh treatment of Haitians at the U.S. border. A Haitian immigrant herself, the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star emotionally spoke on The Real calling on elected officials and comparing the treatment to slavery.
“I am more than emotional today. My heart breaks when I see the shocking images from Texas where immigrants from my home country of Haiti are being treated so inhumanely. The UN even speaks out,” she said. “Ladies, I can not tell you, I posted on my IG story today, I’m furious, I’m angry. I hashtag Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I voted for them. And to see my people being treated this way—they are fleeing because of the earthquakes, because of the disasters, because of the political unrest, and that’s how they are being treated. They are treated as if they are criminals. They are being treated [like] I feel like I’m watching a slave movie.”
Rep. Maxine Waters spoke out against the treatment of Haitian migrants at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (Sept. 22). Like Beauvais, she compared the modern events to the violent traumas of slavery.
“What the hell are we doing here?” she declared according to The Hill. “What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years. What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed and slavery.”
She continued, “Cowboys—with the reins again—whipping Black people, Haitians, into the water where they’re scrambling and falling down and all they’re trying to do is escape from violence in their country.”
Sunny Hostin, co-host of The View also criticized U.S policy and shared her personal connection to Haiti. She spoke to the history of Haiti and urged viewers to look beyond current events when discussing the treatment of Haitian migrants.
“Why aren’t you talking about Haiti?” asked guest co-host Cara Carleton “Carly” of the Biden administration.
Hostin replied, “Well, I think the reason that we’re not seeing more help—if I’m gonna be frank about it—is because they’re Haitian.”
She continued, “We saw it when it first came to the demonizing of Haitians when it came to the AIDS crisis and then we saw it continuing,” and added, “I think that U.S. policy towards Haiti has always been corrupt and 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.”
“The United States and the White House has promised to bring 95,000 Afghans here—and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be brought here—they should be. That is the promise of this country, but if you can send 95,000 Afghans here why are you sending 86 Haitians back on an airplane to a county that has been devastated?”
A senior United States diplomat to Haiti has resigned amid recent events. First reported by PBS News Hour, Ambassador Daniel Foote, a Special Envoy for Haiti, issued a resignation letter citing President Joe Biden’s administration’s “inhumane” treatment of asylum-seeking refugees at the southern border. Foote had held the position for just two months.
“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life,” he wrote. “Our policy approach to Haïti remains deeply flawed, and my recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.”
The letter continued, “The people of Haiti, mired in poverty, hostage to the terror, kidnappings, robberies and massacres of armed gangs and suffering under a corrupt government with gang alliances, simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy,” continued Foote. “The collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services, and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime. Surging migration to our borders will only grow as we add to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to the images of the border patrol agents on horseback using violence against Haitian migrants. According to The Guardian, she was asked if the use of horses and possible whips were an “appropriate tactic.”
“I have seen some of the footage. I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate,” she responded. “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”
Even Vice President Kamala Harris expressed “grave concerns about the mistreatment of Haitian migrants by border patrol agents on horses.” On Tuesday (Sept. 23), a statement by Harris’ chief spokesperson Symone Sanders noted, “the need of all (Customs and Border Protection) agents to treat people with dignity, humanely and consistent with our laws and our values.”
When asked by a reporter on Tuesday about the controversial footage, Harris responded, “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.”
According to Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff, as of Thursday morning (Sept. 23), the use of horse patrol units has been suspended.
“Border authorities have suspended use of horse patrol units in the Del Rio camp, DHS officials told reporters on a briefing call,” he reported on Twitter. “4,050 migrants remain in camp, and one DHS official said ‘thousands’ have returned to Mexico. No breakdown avail of # released vs returned to Haiti.”
Border authorities have suspended use of horse patrol units in the Del Rio camp, DHS officials told reporters on a briefing call.
4,050 migrants remain in camp, and one DHS official said "thousands" have returned to Mexico.
No breakdown avail of # released vs returned to Haiti.
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) September 23, 2021