Mexico’s foreign ministry has asked the US government to launch a “full investigation” into the use of non-lethal weapon directed toward Mexican territory along the two countries’ shared border on Sunday, a statement said.
Per Reuters, the US Border Patrol fired tear gas canisters toward migrants in Mexico on Sunday near the border crossing that separates the Mexican city of Tijuana from San Diego, California, after some of them tried to cross into the United States.
A spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) confirmed that its agents used “crowd dispersing devices” — including pepper ball launching systems and CS canisters, commonly known as tear gas — to “stop the migrants from illegally entering the United States.” As the Inquisitr earlier reported, both CBP and Mexico’s interior ministry issued statements saying that there were no reports of injuries when tear gas was fired.
However, videos on social media showed women running and children screaming and coughing as clouds of gas spread out across hundreds of yards, per the Associated Press.
“We ran, but when you run the smoke smothers you more,” Ana Zuniga, a 23-year-old from Honduras who was carrying her 3-year-old daughter, told the AP.
The move sparked a strong backlash from the public as well as civil rights organizations who condemned the use of tear gas on children.
Families are frightened and soldiers are shooting tear gas at toddlers. We must choose to be better than this, and @realDonaldTrump expected nothing less when he deployed thousands of troops to the border with the order to shoot to kill. https://t.co/45py8jmR5Q
— Amnesty International (@amnestyusa) November 25, 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement on Sunday where Lorella Praeli, the Union’s deputy political director, said the following.
“Under no circumstances should CBP be using tear gas on children. This show of violence is outrageous and inhumane. The migrants at our southern border are human beings, including mothers and small children, who are exercising their legal, human right to seek asylum.”
Praeli further added that “Trump’s obsessive, racist crusade against immigrants will continue to inflict human pain and suffering until Congress is willing to step up and conduct real oversight.”
President Donald Trump, however, denied that any tear gas had been used on children on Monday when a journalist asked him if it was “okay to use tear gas on children.”
“We didn’t,” President Trump responded, a separate report by the Inquisitr quoted him as saying. “We don’t use it on children.”
The Border Patrol Commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, admitted that agents fired tear gas at adults who were throwing rocks and “projectiles” at the agents, adding that the forces dealt with a very tough situation at the borders on Sunday as close to 1,000 migrants tried to enter the United States illegally, the Inquisitr reported.