Homeland Security is “infected” with anti-Black sentiment, a civil rights group complained Monday, saying that contributed to last month’s horrific scene where thousands of Haitians erected an encampment on the U.S. banks of the Rio Grande.
Lawyers for Civil Rights demanded the DHS inspector-general probe treatment of Haitian and Black migrants and said Homeland Security must conduct a “racial audit” to weed out bias that the group says led to unacceptable treatment of the migrants.
The lawyers, acting on behalf of Haitian-Americans United, also demanded mandatory retraining of Border Patrol agents, saying what the migrants’ experienced was “racialized abuse.”
“In light of DHS’s racialized abuse, HAU files this complaint seeking an immediate DHS and Inspector General investigation into how racial animus and national origin discrimination produced the unlawful detention conditions outlined in this complaint,” the lawyers wrote.
The Haitian surge was the latest embarrassment for the Biden immigration team, adding another stunning chapter to a year that’s already seen an unprecedented surge of illegal border activity.
Thousands of Haitians crossed the Rio Grande at Del Rio, Texas, and set up a migrant camp underneath the international bridge. The camp swelled to about 15,000 people, overwhelming the Border Patrol, which wasn’t prepared to handle processing that many people in that location.
Those in the camp were not actually in Border Patrol custody, and migrants swam back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, effectively taking control of that part of the international boundary for days.
As Homeland Security belatedly surged resources, it deployed the Border Patrol’s horse unit — and images of encounters between mounted agents and migrants went viral. Some claimed to see an agent whipping a migrant, though one of the photographers involved said that did not happen.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced an investigation and on Sept. 22 he promised Congress answers in “days.”
The Washington Times has reached out to Homeland Security for comment.
The groups involved in Monday’s complaint say maltreatment was widespread.
Among the accusations are that Haitians were detained longer than White migrants would have been in the same situation, and that Homeland Security didn’t have translators available to assist migrants who spoke Haitian Creole, prolonging the processing and detention.
Even when they were released, their reporting requirements were issued in English and Spanish, the groups said.
Pregnant women in custody were denied medical care, and one woman suffered a miscarriage, the complaint said. Another pregnant woman had to sleep on a concrete floor of a cell for four days.
The groups also said Homeland Security “failed altogether to address COVID-19,” sticking the Haitians in overcrowded cells without face masks.
Nobody was tested for the coronavirus beforehand or offered vaccines, the groups claimed.