Photo: Texas National Guard Soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in the Rio Grande River as part of Operation Lone Star (Source: @GregAbbott_TX/Twitter)
By Nélida Tello
This weekend, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents on horseback charged at 15,000 Haitian migrants camped under the Del Rio International Bridge along the US-Mexico borer in an effort to detain them, using reins as whips against those who attempted to reach the encampment under the international bridge. Despite the crocodile tears of the imperialist Biden administration as this came to public attention, this brutal enforcement at the border is the fulfillment of the promise made by Vice President Kamala Harris in Guatemala this July that the US would continue to enforce its immigration laws and secure its border.
As photographs of a CBP agent whipping migrants were shared widely over the internet, the Biden administration feigned disapproval at the sight of their own agents abusing the men, women, and children at the border. “What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible,” said Vice President Harris in a video interview.
CBP agents abusing and using physical force against migrants is common and has a long history. In 2018, CBP agents in San Diego fired tear gas and rubber bullets at migrants attempting to cross the border en masse after growing frustrated with the amount of time it took to process their entry.
The recent repression of the migrants at the border has not gone unanswered by the migrants themselves. On Monday, a bus transporting a group of Haitian migrants was successfully overtaken by migrants who rebelled after learning they were being moved from Del Rio to other cities for deportation. After seizing the vehicle, some managed to escape before they were recaptured by law enforcement.
In response to thousands of migrants in Del Rio, Texas governor Greg Abbott deployed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Texas Military Department, and local law enforcement to restrict migration and reinforce CBP agents. As of Tuesday, thousands of Texas National Guard and DPS vehicles were parked along the border to continue the anti-immigration push.
Abbott stated that DPS troopers and Texas Rangers would continue to be deployed throughout the border as part of Operation Lone Star (OLS). Under OLS, state authorities are allowed to arrest and jail migrants on state charges of trespassing. Abbott gave OLS an additional $100 million grant earlier this week as a result of the thousands of migrants seeking asylum in Del Rio. During his press conference in the city, Abbott said, “It’s not the Biden administration ‘catch and release’ policy, it’s the Texas ‘arrest and jail’ policy.”
Despite the superficial differences between Abbott’s and Biden’s border policies, the Biden administration has continued to deport migrants at the border under Title 42, passed under former president Donald Trump. Title 42 is a public health order that allows for the expulsion of migrants crossing the border without letting them apply for asylum, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext. In July alone, CBP agents apprehended more than 200,000 migrants at the border.
Since Sunday, about 1,400 Haitian migrants have been deported back to Haiti, despite the majority of them actually living in Chile and Brazil. In Del Rio, 5,000 migrants remain and thousands of others have been sent to other Texas cities to be processed.
One 29-year-old mother attempting to cross to the US through Del Rio was deported back to Haiti despite living in Chile for the past four years. She told the Wall Street Journal, “We sold our house and everything we had to make the trip. The Americans aren’t human. They treated us like animals.”
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