The Biden administration is partnering with a coalition of organizations, two of which falsely accused Border Patrol agents of whipping illegal immigrants in September 2021, a Daily Caller News Foundation review of the groups’ previous statements found.
The State Department partnered with Welcome.US, a coalition of nonprofit groups, corporations and former politicians, in September 2021 to provide aid to new Afghan refugees seeking sponsors, housing and jobs. The initiative includes the Haitian Bridge Alliance and Amnesty International, both of which made the false accusation that Border Patrol agents on horseback whipped Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas, which the Biden administration’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) later debunked.
The State Department recently told the DCNF that Welcome.US, which is a project led by the left-leaning Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is part of a consortium it funds.
“The consortium, which includes Welcome.US, is led by the Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH) to oversee and manage the significant new operational infrastructure for the program,” a State Department official told the DCNF.
“The Department works with a variety of independent organizations dedicated to safe, orderly, and humane migration. We are proud of the work we’ve done with a consortium of non-profit organizations including Welcome.US to implement the Welcome Corps and Sponsor Circles for Afghans, both public-private partnerships,” a State Department spokesperson said in a later statement, referring the DCNF to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Border Patrol agents falsely accused of “whipping” migrants were attempting to control a situation where thousands of mostly Haitian migrants amassed under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas. CBP’s investigation into the incident found that the agents had “twirled” the reins of their horses to control the situation.
The White House perpetuated the false allegations of whipping before the report’s findings were released. President Joe Biden said days after the incident that the agents “will pay” and that “there will be consequences.”
“I take responsibility. I’m president. … It was horrible to see. To see people treated like they did, horses nearly running them over, people being strapped. It’s outrageous,” Biden said at the time. “I promise you those people will pay. … There will be consequences.”
Haitian Bridge Alliance sued the Biden administration, accusing its Border Patrol agents of whipping the migrants, according to a copy of the December 2021 complaint.
“Whips are not part of Border Patrol training or equipment,” then-CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in July 2022 of the agency’s findings, which turned up no evidence Border Patrol agents struck any migrants with the reins of their horses.
“Last September the world watched in horror as photos went viral of a mounted Border Patrol officer using his reins to whip at Mirard Joseph, one of about 15,000 Haitian people seeking protection in Del Rio, Texas. As appalling as the incident was, it was the tip of the iceberg of decades of mistreatment to deter Haitians from seeking safety in the United States,” Nicole Phillips, legal director at Haitian Bridge Alliance, said of a September 2022 report by Amnesty International that suggested that the treatment of Haitian migrants by U.S. authorities is “rooted in anti-Black racism.”
In its September 2022 report, Amnesty International said it wasn’t accepting the Biden administration’s findings that the agents didn’t whip migrants.
“The report of the investigation published by CBP in July 2022, despite recognizing the ‘unnecessary use of force against migrants who were attempting to re-enter the United States with food,’ concluded none of the Haitians were intentionally struck by Border Patrol agents with their reins, but the investigation failed to interview any of the Haitians present, significantly undermining its credibility,” the group wrote in the report.
Amnesty International said DHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties told them there would be an investigation into “allegations of disparate treatment of Black migrants; 2) allegations of discrimination against Haitian migrants; 3) CBP Horse Patrol Program policies and procedures; 4) conditions in the overflow area under the Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge.”
“These shameful events in Del Rio took place as global conversations around race and systemic discrimination continued in the wake of the unlawful killing and torture of George Floyd in May 2020,” the organization said.
Amnesty International USA launched a Facebook ad campaign in November 2021 featuring several ads promoting the false claims that Border Patrol agents whipped migrants. A sign-up page for the campaign read that Border Patrol agents that day were “brandishing whips while abusing and taunting Haitian asylum-seekers.”
Haitian Bridge Alliance and Amnesty International didn’t respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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