Maxine Waters: What we witnessed with Haitian migrants takes us back hundreds of years

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? House Democrats scramble to save housing as Biden eyes cuts Toomey takes aim at Schumer's spending windfall for NYC public housing MORE (D-Calif.) slammed the Biden administration for the way Haitian migrants are being treated at the border, saying that it “takes us back hundreds of years.”

“What the hell are we doing here?” Waters asked during a Wednesday news conference in response to viral footage from the U.S.-Mexico border at Del Rio, Texas, which showed Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing down Black migrants from Haiti.

“What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years. What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery,” she continued. “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.”


The comments add to a chorus of harsher scrutiny after the footage from Del Rio emerged earlier this week. Some photos and video appeared to show a border agent using his reins as a whip on migrants, while other images showed an agent on a horse grabbing at a migrant aggressively.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasTop officials turn over Twitter accounts to 'share the mic' with Black cybersecurity experts Federal officers detail abuse described by asylum seekers Senate Republicans raise concerns about TSA cyber directives for rail, aviation MORE told lawmakers in testimony this week that his department was investigating the incident and would have answers within days, not weeks.

Thousands of migrants are being sent back to Haiti, which is still reeling from a catastrophic earthquake and the assassination of its president earlier this year. 

Democrats have slammed the administration for expelling migrants via Title 42, which allows for migrants to be expelled without due process.

On Thursday, the U.S.’s special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned over the administration’s treatment of Haitian migrants.

Waters said Wednesday that she's “pissed” at the Biden administration for “following the Trump” policy on immigration.

“I'm not just unhappy with the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them,” Waters said. “I'm unhappy with the administration. We are following the Trump policy. He is the one that does not follow the Constitution and would not allow those seeking refuge to be able to petition to get into the country."