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Mayorkas Vows Not to 'Prejudge the Facts' After Decrying What the Images of Border Patrol Agents 'Conjure Up'

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is decrying what images that surfaced showing Border Patrol agents aggressively confronting Haitian migrants “conjure up,” but says he will not “prejudge the facts” while an investigation is ongoing.

During a White House press briefing on Friday, Mayorkas said, “The images horrified us in terms of what they suggest and what they conjure up. In terms of not only our nation’s history, but unfortunately the fact that that page of history has not been turned entirely.”

“And that means that there is much work to do, and we are very focused on doing it. But I will not prejudge the facts. I do not in any way want to impair the integrity of the investigative process. We have investigators who are looking at it independently, they will draw their conclusions according to their standard operating procedures, and then the results of that investigation will be determined by the facts that are deduced,” he added.

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Beginning last week thousands of Haitian migrants crossed the border at Del Rio, Texas, to seek asylum in the U.S.

Haiti was thrown into political turmoil earlier this year after gunmen assassinated the island nation’s president. And last month, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti left at least 2,200 people dead.

Images surfaced earlier this week showing Border Patrol agents aggressively confronting Haitian migrants as they crossed into the U.S.

As The New York Times notes, “The videos appear to show mounted Border Patrol agents corralling migrants and forcing them back to Mexico. Some of the agents were gripping and waving what appeared to be reins, prompting accusations that they had been using whips against them. One video captured an agent shouting an expletive at a migrant.”

The Department of Homeland Security opened an investigation into the incident, as IJR reported.

The images sparked fierce criticism from many including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) who suggested that “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 when all they’re trying to do is escape from violence in their country,” she added.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris said the images “evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history where that kind of behavior has been used against the indigenous people of our country, has been used against African-Americans during times of slavery.”

On Friday, President Joe Biden vowed that the Border Patrol agents who were seen on camera confronting the migrants will face consequences.

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“I take responsibility as president, but it was horrible, what you see, as you saw, to see people treated like they did, horses nearly running them over, people being strapped. It’s outrageous,” he said, adding, “I promise you, those people will pay! There will be, an investigation underway now, and there will be consequences. There will be consequences.”

However, the photographer who took the images that appeared to depict agents whipping migrants told the NBC News affiliate in El Paso, Texas, KTSM that he and his colleagues did not see agents whip migrants.

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