Regardless, the images of agents on horseback have generated such a profound reaction, not just from immigration advocates but also from black Americans and powerful civil rights organizations like the NAACP, that many see this as a moment for change.
“The connections were made for blacks,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization. “And accountability requires the Biden government to act because all blacks have seen it and we cannot ignore it.”
Even after Mr Biden condemned the incarceration of migrants in Del Rio, his government sent dozens more deportation flights to Haiti carrying nearly 8,000 people, according to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group. Many say this makes little sense for a country that has been described by the government as “political crisis and human rights abuses, serious security concerns” and “dire economic situation” due to the pandemic. Gang members kidnapped 17 missionaries in Haiti on Saturday.
The response to Del Rio is emblematic of the Biden administration’s approach to border security, which many immigration supporters have said is incomparable to the “humane” immigration system that Mr Biden promised during last year’s campaign. And the mass deportation of Haitians to a troubled country, proponents say, is all the more disappointing of a president who makes racial justice a priority.
The issue could become a political strain on the Democrats voting in the 2022 midterm elections, said Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC, a political organizing group. Black turnout in 2022 will be crucial for Democrats to maintain their majorities in the House and Senate.
“It would be a mistake to think that black Americans are somehow unaware of immigration issues,” said Ms. Shropshire, “especially because the pictures we have seen are so harrowing.”
In just over two weeks, some 28,000 migrants illegally crossed the border into Del Rio last month, came in large groups across the Rio Grande and overpowered the border patrol.