Shocking photos show Haitian migrants swimming across the Rio Grand into Mexico and being confronted by Border Patrol agents on horses

CIUDAD ACUNA, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 20: Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico from Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As U.S. immigration authorities began deporting immigrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio while others crossed the river back into Mexico to avoid deportation.
CIUDAD ACUNA, MEXICO – SEPTEMBER 20: Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico from Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As U.S. immigration authorities began deporting immigrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio while others crossed the river back into Mexico to avoid deportation. John Moore/Getty Images
  • Some 14,000 mostly-Haitian migrants settled under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Friday.
  • The Biden administration is using Title 42 to deport the migrants and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Photos show the migrants’ journey as they seek asylum.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Photos captured between Friday, September 17, and Monday, September 20 show Haitian migrants trying to navigate the humanitarian crisis at the US and Mexico border.

Some of the estimated 14,000 mainly Haitian migrants that ended up in Del Rio, Texas, seeking asylum following a massive earthquake and the assassination of the Haitian president, began heading back to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Monday, to avoid being deported by the US.

Thousands of migrants had settled underneath a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, in the heat where essentials such as food, water, and restrooms were scarce.

President Joe Biden, who had discontinued some of Trump’s immigration policies, leading migrants to believe the US was more open to migrants, has begun deporting migrants back to Haiti, The New York Times reported.

The mayor of Del Rio, Texas declared a state of emergency on September 17 following the settlement of thousands of mostly Haitian migrants underneath a bridge in Del Rio.
Haitian migrants use a dam to cross to and from the United States from Mexico, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.
Haitian migrants use a dam to cross to and from the United States from Mexico, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. Eric Gay/AP Photo
Del Rio Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano is working alongside Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Chief of the US Border Patrol Raul Ortiz to find a solution at the border and to deport migrants, the mayor said in a tweet on Sunday.
Some Haitian migrants were spotted moving back towards Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on September 20, to prevent being deported back to Haiti.
Migrants, many from Haiti, wade across the Rio Grande river from Del Rio, Texas, to return to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, to avoid deportation from the U.S. The U.S. is flying Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland and blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico.
Migrants, many from Haiti, wade across the Rio Grande river from Del Rio, Texas, to return to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. The US is flying Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland and blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico. Felix Marquez/AP Photo
Desperate to not return back to Haiti, some migrants have begun moving from Texas back into Mexico. CNBC reported that at least 100 migrants were heading back to Mexico.

As of Sunday, September 19, the US had flown 3,300 Haitians back to Haiti. 

Haitian migrants were captured on photo wading through the Rio Grande.
CIUDAD ACUNA, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 20: Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico from Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As U.S. immigration authorities began deporting immigrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio while others crossed the river back into Mexico to avoid deportation.
Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico from Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As US immigration authorities began deporting immigrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio while others crossed the river back into Mexico to avoid deportation. John Moore/Getty Images
Some migrants also crossed the Rio Grande in search of food and other resources.
Haitian migrants cross the Rio Grande to get food and supplies near the Del Rio-Acun?a Port of Entry in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila state, Mexico on September 18, 2021. - The mayor of Del Rio, Texas declared a state of emergency on September 17, 2021 after more than 10,000 undocumented migrants, many of them Haitians, poured into the border city in a fresh test of President Joe Biden's immigration policy. Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said that the migrants were crowded in an area controlled by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) beneath the Del Rio International Bridge, which carries traffic across the Rio Grande river into Mexico.
Haitian migrants cross the Rio Grande to get food and supplies near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila state, Mexico on September 18, 2021. PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images
US Customs and Border Patrol agents were photographed using whips to prevent Haitian migrants from joining the other Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.
United States Border Patrol agents on horseback try to stop Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. - US law enforcement are attempting to close off crossing points along the Rio Grande river where migrants cross to get food and water, which is scarce in the encampment. The United States said Saturday it would ramp up deportation flights for thousands of migrants who flooded into the Texas border city of Del Rio, as authorities scramble to alleviate a burgeoning crisis for President Joe Biden's administration.
United States Border Patrol agents on horseback try to stop Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images
Those who tried to return with resources on Sunday were met by US Customs and Border Patrol agents on horseback who were armed with whips.

“I have seen some of the footage,” Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said to reporters during a news briefing on Monday, referring to video of the CBP agents scattering migrants. “I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don’t have additional details. … I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”

According to The Washington Post, the Border Patrol agents eventually let the migrants in through the border. 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet on Monday that the current “immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants.” 

“This is a stain on our country,” she continued.

“Video and photos coming out of Del Rio showing US Border Patrol’s mistreatment of Haitian migrants along the border are horrific and disturbing,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, told The Post.

“This mistreatment runs counter to our American values and cannot be tolerated,” he added.

The Department of Homeland Security responded to the footage on Monday.
United States Border Patrol agents on horseback tries to stop Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. - The United States said Saturday it would ramp up deportation flights for thousands of migrants who flooded into the Texas border city of Del Rio, as authorities scramble to alleviate a burgeoning crisis for President Joe Biden's administration.
United States Border Patrol agents on horseback tries to stop Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images
The Department of Homeland Security said that CBP is currently investigating the crisis, according to PBS anchor Yamiche Alcindor.

“Secretary Mayorkas visited Del Rio today and witnessed the extraordinary work of DHS personnel,” DHS spokesperson said in the statement. “The footage is extremely troubling and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken.”

“We are committed to processing migrants in a safe, orderly, and humane way. We can and must do this in a way that ensures the safety and dignity of migrants,” the statement concluded.

DHS and CBP did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

The Biden-Harris Administration will continue invoking Title 42 – an order issued by Trump.
Migrants, many from Haiti, board a bus after they were processed and released after spending time at a makeshift camp near the International Bridge, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. is flying Haitians camped at Texas border town back to their homeland and trying to block others from crossing the border from Mexico.
Migrants, many from Haiti, board a bus after they were processed and released after spending time at a makeshift camp near the International Bridge, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. The US is flying Haitians camped at Texas border town back to their homeland and trying to block others from crossing the border from Mexico. Eric Gay/AP Photo
The Biden-Harris administration has challenged courts for the ability to invoke Title 42 and despite activists’ cries to end it.

“If you come to the US illegally, you will be returned,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Monday news conference. “Your journey will not succeed.”

Title 42 is an immigration policy issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention during Trump’s presidency that allows the swift deportation of migrants as a measure to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

Steven Forester, an immigration policy coordinator at the US-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, told Al Jazeera that the order is entirely “unconscionable.”

“There’s no way Haiti can handle the people that are in Haiti now given the conditions there. It can’t provide for these people,” he added.