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Tag: Haiti

Border Patrol Agents on Horseback Face Discipline for Treatment of Haitian Immigrants

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

CBP is planning to discipline horse-mounted agents for their treatment of Haitian immigrants near the border in Del Rio, Texas, last year.

The agents are accused of “administrative violations,” two agency officials told the Washington Examiner

But they are unlikely to be fired, one official said. 

CBP’s Office of Personal Responsibility drafted a 500-page report detailing the investigation into horse-mounted Border Patrol agents accused of mistreating Haitian migrants last year. The report has yet to be released.

Images of the interaction went viral, and the Biden administration falsely accused the agents of whipping the immigrants. 

The agents likely won’t face criminal charges because the Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General opted not to investigate. 

U.S. Arrests Second Suspect in Connection with the Assassination of Haitian President

Haitian President Jovenal Moïse. Photo: Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department announced charges Thursday against a second suspect accused of being involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. 

Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar, 49, is charged with conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap, the Justice Department said in a news release

Jaar is the second person arrested and charged in the U.S. in connection with the assassination. 

Jaar is accused of providing weapons to about 20 Columbian citizens who played a role in assassinating Moise. Prosecutors allege he also housed some of the Columbians. 

Jaar faces up to life in prison if convicted. 

Homeland Security arrested and charged another suspect, Mario Antonio Palacios, earlier this month. 

DHS Inspector General Declines to Investigate Horse-Mounted Agents

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security’s inspector general has decided not to investigate horse-mounted Border Patrol agents who were seen in viral images blocking Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas.

The images provoked public outrage and a pledge by President Biden to swiftly investigate the incident. 

CBP initially referred the investigation to the inspector general’s office, which declined and handed it back to Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which “immediately commenced investigative work, including its review of videos and photographs and the interview of witnesses employees, and CBP leadership,” Homeland Security said in a statement Tuesday.

“Once completed, the results of the investigation will be provided to CBP management to determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate and, if so, the specific discipline to be imposed,” according to the statement. “At that time, the employees will be afforded due process, including an opportunity to respond, and any corrective actions will comport with applicable laws and regulations. The disciplinary process, which is separate from the fact-finding investigation, is subject to certain timelines established in CBP’s labor-management agreement with the employees’ union of the United States Border Patrol.” 

OPR is tasked with investigating alleged misconduct by CBP employees. As a matter of policy, OPR refers all allegations of serious misconduct to the inspector general’s office. 

“DHS remains committed to conducting a thorough, independent, and objective investigation,” the statement reads. “DHS will share information, as available, consistent with the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and individuals’ privacy.”

Border Patrol Agents Questioned about Use of Horses in Handling of Haitian Migrants

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

Federal investigators are finally interviewing Border Patrol personnel who were present in September when viral images showed agents on horses try to block Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas, ABC News reports.

The investigation was initiated by CBP following public outrage over Border Patrol agents on horses chasing and grabbing Haitian migrants. 

Homeland Security officials suspended the use of horse patrols following the shocking images, and President Biden pledged a swift investigation that will result in “consequences.”

But since then, the investigation has been anything but swift.  

Some have defended the agents, saying they were just doing their job. 

Details of the current investigation weren’t clear. 

At least two of the agents in the photos remain on administrative leave. 

DOJ Reviews Preliminary Probe into Border Patrol Agents’ Handling of Haitian Migrants

By Steve Neavling

Viral images of Border Patrol agents on horses trying to block Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas, sparked outrage, and Homeland Security officials pledged a swift investigation. 

More than month later, the agents have not yet been questioned, ABC News reports, citing a law enforcement official.

Homeland Security officials have declined to comment on the investigation. 

The Justice Department has received a preliminary report from the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which was investigating. No decision has been made on whether criminal charges are warranted. 

According to one law enforcement official, the internal investigation could only proceed – and the agents interviewed – when the U.S. attorney made a decision. 

“The investigation is ongoing,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. “The Department is committed to a thorough, independent, and objective process. We are also committed to transparency and will release the results of the investigation once it is complete.”

FBI Arrives in Haiti to Help Negotiate for Release of 17 Missionaries Who Were Kidnapped

By Steve Neavling

FBI agents are in Haiti to help negotiate for the release of 16 American missionaries and one Canadian who were abducted by a gang Saturday. 

The agents arrived on Sunday, just hours after confirmation that 17 Christian missionaries, including five children and several elderly people, were abducted at a checkpoint Saturday, The Miami Herald reports.

“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” the State Department said in a statement. “We have been in regular contact with senior Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them and interagency partners. We will provide additional information as we are able.”

The “400 Mawozo” gang is known for extorting businesses and kidnapping people for ransom. It’s responsible for about 80% of the kidnappings that occur in Haiti, according to Gédéon Jean, who runs the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince. 

In April, the gang abducted Roman Catholic clergy. 

“This is the type of kidnapping that 400 Mawozo do; we call it a collective kidnapping where they kidnap any entire bus or car,” Jean said.

Gov. Abbott Offers to Hire Border Patrol Agents If They’re Fired by Biden Admin

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo via Governor’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday pledged to hire Border Patrol agents if they are fired for their handling of Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande in Del rio, Texas. 

Shocking images showed the agents on horses chasing and grabbing the migrants near a makeshift camp where a large influx of Haitians had gathered in hopes of being granted asylum. 

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Abbott said the agents did nothing wrong, and if they are fired, “I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”

Abbott’s remarks came several days after President Biden, calling the agents’ actions “outrageous,” said, “Those people will pay.”

Abbott placed the blame on the Biden administration, saying agents “wouldn’t have been in that situation had the Biden administration enforced the immigration laws.”

“If he takes any action against them whatsoever — I have worked side by side with those Border Patrol agents — I want them to know something,” Abbott said. “If they are risk of losing their job by a president who is abandoning his duty to secure the border, you have a job in the state of Texas. I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”

Former DEA Informant Among Suspects in Assassination of Haitian President

By Steve Neavling

A former DEA informant is a suspect in last week’s assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the agency said. 

Joseph Gertland Vincent, 55, who was one of two Haitian-American men charged in the fatal attack, became an occasional DEA informant after he was arrested more than 20 years ago for filing false information on a U.S. passport application, The Miami Herald reports.

Another 26 Columbians also were charged in the attack. 

The DEA declined to confirm which of the two Americans arrested was the confidential informant. 

“At times, one of the suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a confidential source to the DEA,” one DEA official said. “Following the assassination of President Moïse, the suspect reached out to his contacts at the DEA.

“A DEA official assigned to Haiti urged the suspect to surrender to local authorities and, along with a U.S. State Department colleague, shared information with the Haitian government that assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and one other individual.”

During the attack, one of the suspects shouted that they were executing a DEA raid. 

“DEA is aware of reports that President Moïse’s assassins yelled ‘DEA’ at the time of their attack. These individuals were not acting on behalf of DEA,” said the source.

Senior officials with the FBI and Homeland Security arrived in Haiti this week to lend a hand to the island nation.