Our Voices

Kerry Kennedy: Demanding Accountability for the Human Rights Abuses at Del Rio, Texas

Over the weekend, the Border Patrol released a 500-page report on its official investigation into the humanitarian catastrophe that occurred at Del Rio, Texas in September 2021, when over 15,000 Haitian and other Black immigrants huddled at a makeshift encampment, seeking asylum. Officials must have hoped that no one would notice that their sham investigation failed to interview a single Haitian person present at Del Rio. Instead, the report focuses only on the 30 minutes caught on camera by journalists, where Border Patrol agents on horseback are seen terrorizing people carrying food to their starving families. The report completely overlooks the systemic human rights abuses I and a team of lawyers at RFK Human Rights witnessed over a period of days when we traveled to Del Rio: the herding of thousands into open-air, militarized pens under the scorching sun, where they were denied food, water, and basic medical care, endangering the lives of people desperate for protection, including babies. The official Border Patrol report seeks to erase the suffering of thousands—just as the government sought to erase evidence of its wrongdoing by razing the Del Rio encampment days after it imprisoned and expelled families to certain danger and persecution in Haiti and Mexico, in violation of international humanitarian law.

This is not justice. RFK Human Rights calls on the Biden administration to honor its Executive Order Advancing Racial Equity by engaging in a true accounting of what occurred at Del Rio. If it will not, Congress should intervene by establishing a truth commission that will once and for all root out the anti-Black discrimination that infects our immigration system, where Black people are held in solitary confinement and denied asylum at higher rates than any other racial group.

Until then, RFK Human Rights stands in solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters, for whom justice and truth have been too long denied.