Whip-Happy Border Patrol Agents Now On Desk Duty, Wingnuts Parsing Definition Of What 'Whip' Is
US Border Patrol agents on horseback were photographed last weekend whipping and grabbing Haitian migrants and generally calling to mind slave patrols, leading to an outcry by the ACLU and calls for the agents to be fired, and while we're at it how about dismantling the Department of Homeland Security and replacing it with something at least 20 percent less fascist. Yesterday at her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the photos and video "horrific" and said the Border Patrol agents have been placed on desk duty while an investigation of their "brutal and inappropriate measures" goes forward. Here, have some video:
Noting that the investigation is expected to be completed by next week, Psaki said the agents
were placed on administrative leave and will not be interacting with any migrants. So as it relates to those photos and that horrific video, we're not going to stand for that kind of inhumane treatment, and obviously we want this investigation to be completed rapidly.
In what's sure to become the dominant rightwing talking point about the incident, Fox News made a point of explaining several times that the Border Patrol agents were not carrying "whips," but were instead holding their horses' "long reins," so shame on any "Democrats and media outlets" that "falsely described the agents' long reins, which they use to control their horses, as 'whips.'"
Fox repeated the "long reins" bit in the paragraph after that, so get ready for the distinction to be just about all anyone on the right ever wants to talk about, just as any discussion of a mass shooting will inevitably go haring off into a rant about how it wasn't an "automatic" rifle, it was a "semiautomatic" rifle.
We should note, however, that Fox did not come up with a new verb to describe how the agents were using those long reins against the migrants.
Condemnation has also been growing of the Biden administration's decision to deport many of the migrants to Haiti, even though many of them had not lived on the island for years, and had instead come to the US border from South and Central America. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday called the agents' behavior "unacceptable," but also called on Biden to stop using the same "hateful and xenophobic" Trump pandemic policy, Title 42, as an excuse to deport adults seeking asylum at the border. On the Senate floor, Schumer said
I'm told there are four flights scheduled to deport these asylum-seekers back to a country that cannot receive them. Such a decision defies common sense. It also defies common decency and what America is all about.
In addition, this morning the administration's Special Envoy for Haiti, Ambassador Daniel Foote, resigned in protest over the deportations, saying in his resignation letter that he would not be a party to the US's "inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees." Here's his letter:
It's a pretty strong statement of moral outrage, noting that while Haiti is considered so dangerous for Americans that diplomats are "confined to secure compounds" to keep them safe from armed gangs,
The people of Haiti, mired in poverty, hostage to the terror, kidnappings, robberies and massacres of armed gangs and suffering under a corrupt government with gang alliances, simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy. The collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services, and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime. Surging migration to our borders will only grow as we add to Haiti's unacceptable misery.
We need to do better. We really do.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.