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Homeland security secretary troubled by images of Border Patrol agents confronting migrants

Images that appear to show U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback confronting migrants along the Rio Grande have a federal official speaking out.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was horrified by what he saw.

“I’m going to let the investigation run its course, but the pictures that I observed troubled me profoundly,” Mayorkas told News4Jax.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acua, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Thousands of Haitian migrants have been arriving to Del Rio, Texas, as authorities attempt to close the border to stop the flow of migrants. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RELATED: White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants

There are thousands of migrants huddled under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas. Many of them are Haitian.

“We are moving more migrants very quickly to other processing centers so we can ensure their security and safety and the security and safety of the community,” Mayorkas said.

There is partisan criticism of what’s happening at the border.

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said there needs to be better enforcement of current laws.

“It also needs to happen at a much quicker rate,” Gonzales said. “At this point, we shouldn’t be Republicans or Democrats. We need to come together and need to get through this crisis together.

Both of Florida’s U.S. senators -- Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio -- are Republicans.

Scott said in a recent news release:

“For months, I have been calling for this administration to get the border under control and protect American families and our national security. August’s apprehension numbers further confirm our fears.”

Both senators also criticize Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been given the task of stabilizing the border situation. Rubio called out Harris on cable news.

“Where’s the vice president who is supposed to be in charge of the border response? I think right now she seems to be in the witness protection program because she’s nowhere to be seen on that,” Rubio said.

The vice president responded.

“What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback, treating human beings the way they were is horrible. And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. Human beings should never be treated that way and I’m deeply troubled by it,” she said.

President Joe Biden’s press secretary commented to reporters aboard Air Force One.

She said: “He was horrified. He believes this does not represent who we are as a country and does not represent the positions of the Biden-Harris administration.”


About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.