Harris went beyond earlier comments labeling the treatment ‘horrible,’ during an appearance on ABC’s ‘The View,’ after agents photographed seeking to corral Haitian immigrants pulled back to the office amid an investigation.
‘Well, first of all, I’ve been very clear about the images that you and I both saw of those law enforcement officials on horses – I was outraged by it. It was horrible and and deeply troubling. There’s been now an investigation that has been conducted, which I fully support and there needs to be consequences and accountability.’
Harris, the nation’s first black vice president, continued: ‘Human beings should not be treated that way and as we all know it also evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history, where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people of our country. Has been used against African Americans during times of slavery, and so I’m glad to know that that [Alejandro] Mayorkas the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is taking it very seriously,’ she said.
‘Human beings should not be treated that way and as we all know it also evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history,’ VP Kamala Harris said on ABC’s ‘The View’ when asked about border agents using horses to push back Haitian immigrants
Harris appeared to be picking up a line of argument from senior Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who made the same analogy earlier this week. She met with CBC members this week amid outrage from lawmakers about US policies sending Haitians back to their country following storms, an earthquake, and political turmoil.
Waters called the actions by border agents ‘worse than slavery days’ while Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called it ‘white supremacist behavior.’
‘We’re saying to the president and everybody else: You’ve got to stop this madness,’ Waters said during a press conference.
‘And I want to know, in the first place, who’s paying these cowboys to do this work?’ she continued. ‘They’ve got to be gotten rid of. They’ve gotten to be stopped. It cannot go on.’
Harris compared the conduct of border agents to that ‘used against African Americans during times of slavery’
She called images of what she saw ‘horrible.’ A border agents’ union said the riders were using split reins, rather than whips
By Thursday, the White House announced that agents would no longer use horses at Del Rio.
A border agent union said the agents were using split reins, not whips, as a method of controlling their horses. Harris kept her comments to the images, and avoided precise words about the conduct being probed.
Still photographic images of the events show agents chasing down Haitian migrants, with reins in motion. Videos also show agents using horses to chase down migrants.
Harris, who spoke remotely from New York after two cohosts on ‘The View’ tested positive for the coronavirus, also blasted the conduct she saw in comments earlier this week.
‘What I saw depicted, those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were was horrible,’ she said.
On Friday, President Joe Biden made his own first comments on the matter – saying people were being ‘strapped.’
President Joe Biden called the images of agents pushing back Haitians ‘horrible to see’
Slave Cabin, Barbour County near Eufaula, Alabama, USA, from Federal Writer’s Project, ‘Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives’, United States Work Projects Administration, 1936
He called the images ‘horrible to see’ but didn’t address the greater situation at the border, where thousands of migrants are camped out under a bridge as they wait to see if they can get into the United States.
‘It was horrible what to see, as you saw, to see people treat like they did – horses running them over, people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay. There will be investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences. It’s an embarrassment. But beyond an embarrassment is dangerous, it’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world, and sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are,’ he said.
Asked about providing greater opportunities for Haitians to get asylum, Harris was noncommittal.
‘I feel very strongly, the president feels very strongly, we’ve got to do more,’ she said.
‘We have to do more in terms of supporting the Haitians who are returning to the island and returning to Haiti,’ as well as doing more ‘to support Haiti.’