Border Agents Fire Tear Gas Across Mexico Border

Larry Hoffman
January 2, 2019

USA authorities fired tear gas into Mexico during the first hours of the new year as 150 migrants tried to cross the border into San Diego.

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, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

The migrants said they were part of the caravan of people from Central America who arrived at the border over the last couple of months, escalating what had already been a strained border security regime.

In Tuesday's incident, 25 migrants were arrested while the others crawled under a hole in the fence back into Mexico, according to CBP.

Al Jazeera's Manuel Rapelo, reporting from Tijuana, said central American asylum seekers were preparing to jump the wall.

Shortly after the New Year began, dozens of migrants stood on a hill from which they could see USA border agents, who watched them closely.

An AP photographer at the scene says the migrants began throwing rocks after the tear gas was sacked. The agency said teenagers wrapped in jackets, blankets or mats were put over the wire, as were "toddler-sized children".

Most have been stopped in Mexico, and have been waiting in shelters in Tijuana for weeks for a chance to apply for asylum in the U.S. Several of the migrants told the Los Angeles Times they tried to cross the border illegally after growing frustrated with the deadlocked process. It said its agents could not assist the children because of the rocks being thrown.

In November, after a group of migrants tried to rush the border, McAleenan defended the use of tear gas: "As the events unfolded, quick, decisive and effective action prevented an extremely risky situation".

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Katie Waldman accused "a violent mob of migrants" of "attacking" the border patrol force with "projectiles", saying the agents used "the minimum force necessary" to thwart the attack on the border and defend themselves.

US President Donald Trump used the caravan to press his drive to build a wall on the border.

Others tried to enter the United States by going over or under the fence. Romney says that as senator, he will treat Trump as he would any president - vote with him when it aligns with his and Utah's interests, oppose him when it doesn't - and claims he won't "comment on every tweet or fault" but will "speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest, or destructive to democratic institutions". The deployment of tear gas will be reviewed by CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency said.

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