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Biden says officials seen chasing Haitians on horseback 'will pay'

"There will be consequences,” the president said Friday. “It's an embarrassment, but beyond an embarrassment, it is dangerous. It’s wrong."
A U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021.Paul Ratje / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden called images from the southern border of Haitians being chased and intimidated by immigration officers on horseback “outrageous” and warned there will be consequences for those involved.

“I promise you, those people will pay. There will be an investigation, underway now, and there will be consequences. There will be consequences,” he said Friday. “It's an embarrassment, but beyond an embarrassment, it is dangerous. It’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world, it sends the wrong message at home. It's simply not who we are."

Biden was responding to widely circulated images that showed an agent on horseback grabbing a migrant as the man tried to cross into the United States from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and other video showing agents on horseback chasing the migrants and waving what appeared to be a leather rein or a lariat, lashing it toward them.

"I take responsibility. I'm president, but it was horrible what you saw, to see people treated like they did, horses barely running them over, people being strapped. It's outrageous,” Biden said.

On Thursday, the White House said horses will no longer be used by Border Patrol officers in Del Rio, Texas, and an investigation will continue into the incident.

The remarks follow a week of criticism over the Biden administration's handling of the more than 15,000 Haitian migrants who have arrived at the Texas border in recent weeks. The official response to what has quickly turned into a humanitarian crisis led the U.S. special envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, to resign over what he called the administration's "inhumane" treatment of Haitian migrants.

Biden didn't address the wider problem with the influx of Haitian migrants in his response to a question on whether he takes responsibility for the chaos at the border.