MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Biden administration is facing questions over troubling new images from the southern border.
“It is tragic and it is heartbreaking,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.READ MORE: Attorney For Key Ally Of Venezuela Leader's Nicolas Maduro Called His Extradition To The US Illegal
After seeing the Del Rio, Texas camp where thousands of mostly Haitian migrants are waiting, Mayorkas issued this stark warning.
“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned,” he said.
But Mayorkas was also asked to respond to images of border patrol agents on horseback seen trying to keep migrants from crossing into the country.
In one case, an agent on horseback, with what appears to be a whip in his hand, can be seen grabbing the shirt of a migrant, who was desperately trying to escape.
And as one group tried to pass, an agent said, “Hey! You use your women for this – this is why your country is [expletive].”READ MORE: Haiti Gang With Past Abductions Blamed For Kidnapping Missionaries
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security called the footage “extremely troubling.” DHS added it “is investigating the matter.”
Some of the migrants who do qualify for asylum have been allowed in. Ralder Vilsaint is one of them.
“There’s no security in Haiti. Looking for a better life,” said Vilsaint, explaining why he left his home country.
Javier Martinez Jr. is a life-long resident of Del Rio. He said citizens in his city fear possible shortages.
“We’re population of 35,000 or more. Now we’re accommodating over 10 or 13,000 more,” he explained. “Our Little H-E-Bs, our little Walmarts are not at capacity for that, so our shelves are being a little empty now.”
Martinez said the closure of the bridge connecting Del Rio to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico is having an economic impact.MORE NEWS: Miami Police Investigate Bomb Threat
Workers from Mexico who are allowed to cross into Texas to work can’t do that now, so some businesses are temporarily shutting down.