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The Photos the Border Patrol Wants You to See

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24.09.2021

You may have missed it, but last week the U.S. Border Patrol put out the kind of story it would like the media to cover. Agents patrolling the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, spotted something brightly colored in the rushes, which turned out to be a 3-month-old baby in a carrier and his two-year-old sister. A note pinned to the carrier, according to the Border Patrol, indicated the children were from Honduras and gave their ages. The sector chief for the agency tweeted and posted to Facebook photos of the children with their faces blurred, writing, “It is heartbreaking and frustrating to know that there are children being abandoned without remorse or concern for their lives and wellbeing.”

The attention to detail our agents demonstrate while preforming their duties can be the difference between life and death. It is heartbreaking and frustrating to know that there are children being abandoned without remorse or concern for their lives and wellbeing. – Chief Garcia https://t.co/k8FXzoX9OQ pic.twitter.com/0lTc8hlUHk

As commenters on the Border Patrol’s posts noted, this is an awfully callous interpretation of the desperation that might lead someone to leave their children on the banks of the river. It also fits a narrative the agency has been selling for some time about migrant parents: that they endanger their kids and use them to exploit “loopholes” in immigration law. As the Border Patrol tells it, their agents are brave humanitarian workers, rescuing migrants from the harm they do to themselves.

That picture has been hard to maintain in light of images the Border Patrol didn’t want you to see this week: agents on horseback, wielding their reins like whips, charging at Black Haitians and knocking them back into the river. It instantly recalled the era of chattel slavery, or of the Border Patrol’s frontier origins in the 1920s. Officials have proceeded with a semantic discussion of whether leather cords aimed in the direction of the fleeing migrants may accurately be called whips. “To ensure control of the horse, long reins are used,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “but we are going to investigate the facts to ensure that the situation is as we understand it to be.” Yet most people have had no trouble seeing the historical weight and present racism of agents in........

© New Republic


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