One day after video of U.S. Border Patrol shooting tear gas on child immigrants was strewn across media, President Donald Trump denied that any tear gas had been used on immigrant families.
On Sunday, a group of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States reached the Mexican border, clashing with border agents as a number of them rushed the border. As CNN reported, Trump addressed the situation on Monday and denied that tear gas was ever used on children.
“Is it OK to use tear gas on children?” a reporter asked.
“We didn’t,” Trump responded.
“We don’t use it on children.”
But as the CNN report noted, the video did show women with small children trying to flee from tear gas that spread quickly in high winds. The tear gas had also been confirmed by Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, who said that agents fired primarily at adults who were throwing rocks. He also claimed that close to 1,000 people tried to enter the United States illegally.
“[CBP] effectively managed an extremely dangerous situation involving over 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the US unlawfully in large groups. They did so safely and without any reported serious injuries on either side of the border,” McAleenan said.
Critics have accused Donald Trump of manufacturing the crisis at the U.S. border by refusing entry to the group of immigrants, who are legally allowed to enter when seeking asylum. Border crossings were closed when the group approached on Sunday, not allowing many of them to enter. Immigration officials have also been accused of moving slowly, approving approximately 100 applications per day for a group of close to 5,000 immigrants camped out in Tijuana.
Mexican officials have also spoken out against the actions of the United States. As the Independent noted, Mexico’s foreign ministry called for a full investigation into the use of non-lethal weapons against the immigrants on Sunday. Trump had repeatedly called on Mexico to do more to stop the immigrants, including deporting them to the Central American countries they had fled.
Despite the criticism that he is creating the crisis and that the immigrants have a legal right to enter the United States to seek asylum, Donald Trump has continued to defend his administration’s tactics. As the Independent noted, he spoke out at a rally in Mississippi for Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, saying he hopes to send a message to the immigrants to “turn around and go home.”