Tear gas was used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents early New Year’s Day to block about 150 migrants attempting to climb over — or crawl under — the U.S.-Mexico border fence into California, officials said.
The Associated Press reported that at least three volleys of gas were launched across the border onto the Mexican side near Tijuana’s beach, landing among the migrants, including women and children, as well as press members.
Some of the migrants told the news service they arrived last month with the Honduran caravan.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the tear gas was directed at rock throwers on the Mexican side who prevented agents from helping children, who were being passed over the concertina wire. The agency said 25 migrants, including two teenagers, were detained.
CBP said several teenagers were put over the fence’s barbed wire in heavy jackets and blankets. The agency said small children were also being put over the fence, adding the migrants were “having difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner.”
The agency said it couldn’t assist children attempting to cross the border because of the rocks being thrown at its officers.
Agents deployed smoke, pepper spray and tear gas to stop the rock throwers, according to CBP, which said deployments were directed at the rock throwers, not at the migrants trying to cross the border in a separate area.
Migrants run as tear gas is thrown by U.S. Border Protection officers to the Mexican side of the border fence after they climbed the fence to get to San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico. https://t.co/suJvSkuEYv (@AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #NewsPhotography2019 pic.twitter.com/JoSFAdjliQ
— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) January 1, 2019
— Oden (@Gjallarhornet) January 1, 2019
“No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away,” CBP said.
Under CBP use of force policy, the incident will be reviewed by its Office of Professional Responsibility.
— City News Service
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