First, let’s be clear about one thing: America has never cared about the devastation Black and brown immigrants are trying desperately to escape when crossing the border. The attitude in this country has always been, “Nah, don’t come here.”
Certainly, there are plenty of Americans who are empathetic and not so lacking in human decency that they are gleefully apathetic when it comes to the plight of those who risk all to come here, but America, as a whole, tends to be indifferent at best and, at worst, dangerously contemptuous towards those fleeing their homelands for a better life.
We’ve all seen the images of border patrol agents in Texas giving off big slave patrol energy by riding on horseback with what appears to be whips in hand to track down and capture Haitian migrants at the U.S. border.
Well, some U.S. officials would like to reassure us all by letting us know that what we’ve seen is not actually what we’ve seen and that nothing inherently cruel has happened to people fleeing a country that has seen the assassination of its president and a devastating earthquake over just the last few months.
“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Mayorkas and U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said they would investigate the agents on horseback, but they both said they saw nothing wrong when viewing the same photos and videos decent people were horrified by.
“Mayorkas said agents use long reins, not whips, to control their horses,” AP reported.
Mayorkas appears to believe it matters whether they were using actual whips or horse reigns and that we can’t see with our own eyes that they were doing more than controlling their horses with either.
Conversely, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the images “horrific” and said, “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it acceptable or appropriate.” (Hopefully, Psaki meets the administration’s border security and patrol officials one day.)
It’s possible Psaki is only admitting that what’s going on at the border is “horrific” because she knows many people are refusing to let the Biden administration off the hook for allowing the inhumanity.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, for example, called on the administration to “reverse course on deportations.”
Meanwhile, activist Tamika Mallory took to Instagram to say what many of us have been saying since we saw the images: America is gonna America.
Listen: Very few people are advocating for U.S. borders to be opened completely, or for absolutely nothing to be done about the influx of Haitian migrants and others crossing the border illegally. But there has to be a more humane way to handle things than this, and many of us get tired of apathetic racists and xenophobes pretending they know what they would do if they weren’t fortunate enough to be born in this country instead of a nation people are freeing.
You were born here. That’s it. That’s all you’ve done to earn your privilege to live here legally.