Sept. 21 (UPI) — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Congress on Tuesday that he was “horrified” when he saw the images of Border Patrol agents charging migrants in Del Rio, Texas, on horseback.
He reiterated his promise to fully investigate the Monday incident and the treatment of a group of largely Haitian migrants gathered at the southern border.
“I was horrified to see the images,” Mayorkas said during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “And we look forward to learning the facts that are deduced from the investigation. We do not tolerate any mistreatment or abuse of a migrant. Period.”
Mayorkas told the lawmakers he “immediately” launched an investigation and alerted the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office. He aid he also directed that the Office of Professional Responsibility be present at the Del Rio site “24/7 to insure that the conduct of our personnel adheres to our policies.”
Members of Congress reacted with outrage Monday after seeing the videos and photos of the Border Patrol agents appearing to charge and swing their reins toward migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande, which acts as the border between the United States and Mexico.
Mayorkas told CNN on Tuesday that the United States has moved about 4,000 migrants who had gathered under a bridge in Del Rio to processing centers. The government said it planned to increase deportation flights to Haiti.
White House press secretary said President Joe Biden felt Monday’s incident was “horrible.”
“I think it’s important for people to know that’s not who we are, that’s not who the Biden-Harris administration is, and we’re going to absolutely pursue that investigation and get to the bottom of what happened here,” she said Tuesday on “CBS Mornings.”