Houston-area pastors, elected officials and community advocates gathered at the National Association of Christian Churches in North Houston Friday to condemn the treatment of Haitian migrants at the border and call for immediate action by the Biden administration.

Bishop James Dixon called for an immediate halt of deportations of Haitians, a full investigation into conduct and policies at the border, and for government aid to improve conditions in Haiti. 

Among other things, Dixon took exception to images of border patrol agents on horseback charging at people and likened their treatment to slavery.

“It can not go unnoticed that these Haitians migrants are Black and from a very impoverished place,” Dixon said. “They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”

Dixon added that his group will send letters to President Joe Biden, the Department of Homeland Security and Texas state officials.

Biden has criticized images of mounted border patrol agents rounding up migrants and the U.S. Border Patrol has said it is investigating the incidents. 

On Friday, the last migrants departed a makeshift camp under the international bridge in Del Rio where they had been waiting to be processed by U.S. immigration authorities.

The elected officials who attended or sent representatives to the event in Houston, including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston and Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, echoed Dixon’s criticism.

“Surely, we can do better, America,” said state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston. “Surely, we can do better to take in these people and help them.”