U.S. fired tear gas into Mexico early on New Year's Day

ICE Was Forced to Use Tear Gas on Another Load of Caravan Riders
ICE Was Forced to Use Tear Gas on Another Load of Caravan Riders

03 January, 2019

CBP said migrants began to throw rocks at agents from the Mexican side while others tried to cross the concertina wire, including passing "toddler-sized children" over the wire.

Migrants who spoke with AP said they arrived in Tijuana last month with the caravan from Honduras.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement on Tuesday that tear gas was used to target rock throwers apart from the migrants who were attempting to cross the border south of San Diego, California. "Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets, and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire", the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

According to her, "initial reporting indicates that once the attempted illegal entry was thwarted by agents, the mob began pushing women and minors to the front, forcing minors to climb risky concertina wire, and encouraged conveniently invited media to begin filming their illegal acts".

The gases caused people to stop throwing rocks and flee, CBP said.

But the Associated Press reports rocks were only thrown after agents fired tear gas, and a Reuters witness says one migrant was struck by what seemed to be a tear gas canister.

Per use of force policy, the incident will be reviewed by the Border Patrol's Office of Professional Responsibility.

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Waldman also accused the migrants of trying to turn the incident into a larger story by "conveniently" alerting the media of their plans prior to the altercation with the border patrol.

As night fell and people on both sides of the frontier prepared to celebrate New Year´s Eve, the migrants tried to cross over but at least two smoke bombs were fired and they were ultimately held back.

Numerous migrants are waiting in Tijuana for a chance to apply for asylum in the US, but there was a backlog before the caravan's arrival and the wait is expected to be many months. Others have found jobs in Mexico and tried to settle there.

The incident marks the second time in recent weeks that border agents have had to use tear gas against a mass attempt to overwhelm the border.

In late November, also in the Tijuana area, U.S. border officers used tear gas and rubber bullets when about 500 men, women and children scrambled over a rusted metal fence and surged into a concrete riverbed before they encountered a second fence.

Tijuana has become a flashpoint in the debate over United States immigration policy, amid a partial USA government shutdown over Mr Trump's demand for $5bn (£3.9bn) in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.

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