Stunning video of mounted U.S. border agents appearing to use horse reins to push back migrants is spreading through social media and raising questions about the treatment of those packed in makeshift camps in Del Rio, Texas.
The video was captured by Al Jazeera on Sunday. It shows agents using their horses to push back men, women and children towards the Mexico border.
The video shows an agent cursing as a child jumps out of the horse's path. Then, an agent uses his rein to push back migrants.
"It's a challenging situation," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. "It's devastating to watch this footage. I think it's important for people to also know that what we're trying to do is also protect people. For one, we've been conveying that this is not the time to come. ... We've been working with the American Red Cross to bring in much-needed resources. We've worked with World Central Kitchen to bring in meals and we have been expediting repatriation flights."
Homeland security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says his department is investigating. In a statement, DHS said it does not tolerate the abuse of migrants and finds the footage "extremely troubling."
A camp of migrants has been growing on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio in recent weeks as thousands have arrived from Haiti. Many have fled the country following a devastating earthquake and a tropical storm, in addition to Haiti's ongoing issues with widespread poverty and gang violence.
Law enforcement has been pushing migrants back into Mexico. Others have been put on planes and flown back to Haiti.
This story was originally published by Emily Grossberg and Lauren Stephenson for Newsy.
Editor's note: The word "whip" has been removed from this story because it appears the agents weren't using whips.