Tensions continue to boil on the U.S.-Mexico border after authorities fired tear gas at migrants attempting to cross from Tijuana to San Diego on New Year’s Eve. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said that about 100 migrants fleeing from violence and poverty in Central America attempted to make a run at the border, and agents were forced to use smoke, tear gas, and pepper spray to deter the individuals, according to the Associated Press.
Homeland Security spokesperson Katie Waldman said that a group attempted to move across the border by climbing over and under existing fencing. She said that individuals began throwing rocks at border agents, forcing them to respond.
“Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles,” she said. ” As has happened before – in this and previous administrations — our personnel used the minimum force necessary to defend themselves, defend our border, and restore order. The agents involved should be applauded for handling the situation with no reported injuries to the attackers.”
When the migrants were thwarted from crossing, a “mob” began forcing women and children towards the border and pushing children over the concertina wire.
“The mob began pushing women and minors to the front, forcing minors to climb dangerous concertina wire, and encouraged conveniently invited media to begin filming their illegal acts,” she said.
At that point, the officers were forced to use tear gas and pepper spray, according to Waldman. According to witnesses, at least three volleys of tear gas were lobbed across the border, impacting the men, women, and children assembled there, though agents say that the gas was targeted at the people throwing rocks.
A witness from the Associated Press counters that narrative, saying that rocks weren’t thrown until after U.S. agents fired tear gas. The journalist also said that children and women were impacted by the gas, and that they also witnessed agents firing plastic pellets.
The caravan of migrants arrived in Tijuana for a chance to apply for asylum in accordance with U.S. laws last month, but they have been held up at the border. Prior to their arrival, there was a backlog of immigrants attempting to gain asylum, and experts expect that it could be months before the individuals will be processed.
President Donald Trump has used the group of migrants as a target to support his plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He has frequently referred to the group as being comprised of criminals and drug dealers, and at one time suggested that terrorists were using the caravan as cover to cross into the U.S. None of these claims have been substantiated.
I campaigned on Border Security, which you cannot have without a strong and powerful Wall. Our Southern Border has long been an “Open Wound,” where drugs, criminals (including human traffickers) and illegals would pour into our Country. Dems should get back here an fix now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018