The UN’s refugee agency on Tuesday said it was "seriously concerned" by recent US expulsions to Haiti, adding that its initial observations suggested there have not been any individual assessments of asylum cases. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said asylum seekers’ expressed fears of persecution in their homeland need to be assessed before they can be deported. More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from an encampment at a Texas border town, according to US officials. The US is expelling migrants under an order issued in March last year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cited the need to limit the spread of COVID-19. People massed along the US-Mexican border may have a right to asylum if their fears are legitimate, the UN agency said.
The White House has slammed the use of whip-like horse reins to threaten migrants from Haiti after images showed US border guards on horseback attempting to contain migrants at a riverside camp near the country’s border with Mexico. Mounted officers were seen blocking the paths of migrants who have been crossing the border to buy essential supplies like food and water from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, after facing shortages at the sprawling camp in Del Rio, Texas. In one case, an officer unfurled a cord and swung it near a migrant’s face. Some likened the image to the historical injustices suffered by Black people in the US. "I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate." Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised a full investigation "to ensure that the situation is as we understand it to be."
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