Maxine Waters: Haitian Migrants Treated 'Worse Than What We Witnessed in Slavery'

A United States 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 September 19, 2021. / Getty Images
September 23, 2021

Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) on Wednesday said Border Patrol agents treated Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border "worse than what we witnessed during slavery."

"What the hell are we doing here? What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years," Waters said. "What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery. Cowboys with their reins, again, whipping black people—Haitians—into the water where they're scrambling and falling down." Waters also rebuked Biden's handling of the influx of Haitian immigrants, saying that the president is "following Trump policy."

President Joe Biden has faced criticism from his own party as his administration struggles to stem the tide of thousands of Haitian migrants who have flooded the southern border at Del Rio, Texas. Some Border Patrol agents mounted on horseback to prevent Haitians from reaching a large encampment at the southern border.

Democrats and members of the media have pointed to video footage and images of the incident to claim the agents whipped Haitians with their reins. The White House condemned the agents and said they had used whips to attack the immigrants.

"I don't think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

But Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas initially denied that the agents used their reins as whips. He later put them on desk duty, but the incident is still under investigation.