Border Patrol threw tear gas into a crowd of migrants that included small children
A confrontation at the U.S.-Mexico border ended in U.S. Border Patrol agents hurling tear gas and shooting rubber bullets into a crowd of migrants. Among those in the group, who have spent the last several days in a stadium in Tijuana while awaiting the chance to apply for asylum, were women and toddlers.
The San Ysidro Port of Entry, the largest border crossing with Mexico, was temporarily closed yesterday after hundreds of Central American migrants got past Mexican police, crossed a river, and marched their way to a pedestrian crossing only to be met with force. As helicopters circled overhead, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents sent tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.
U.S.-Mexico border near Tijuana closed as migrants attempt to breach fence:
“Some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure…and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them,” DHS Sec. Nielsen said in a statement. https://t.co/YP5cIFX5KZ pic.twitter.com/U0voEg1yAs
— ABC News (@ABC) November 25, 2018
At least one person actually made it past the border and was apprehended by CBP, according to BuzzFeed News. An anonymous Mexican government official says a total of 30 migrants from the crowd breached the U.S. border and were also apprehended by U.S. authorities. The confrontation reportedly lasted nearly two hours with two separate groups of migrants being hit with tear gas by CBP agents.
The migrants began to march on the border because conditions in the Tijuana sports stadium where they’ve lived since the caravan began arriving from Central America last week are now intolerable. Joseph Garcia, a father from Honduras, explains to Reuters that the situation is growing more extreme by the day. “They want us to wait in Mexico but I for one am desperate. My little girl is sick and I don’t even have money for milk,” he says. “I can’t stand it anymore.”
Migrants from the #MigrantCaravan trying to get to the US border – have left their shelter saying conditions are intolerable and they want to be admitted into the US to seek asylum and are being stopped by riot police pic.twitter.com/7KLWbkHh4k
— Annie Rose Ramos (@Annie_Rose23) November 25, 2018
Along with CBP, the U.S. military has a presence at the border, but officials say they’re there to protect CBP agents and aren’t armed with pistols. “Department of Defense military personnel will not be conducting law enforcement functions, but are authorized to provide force protection for Customs and Border Protection personnel,” a statement from the U.S. Northern Command reads.
— emma murphy (@emmamurphyitv) November 25, 2018
It’s hard to understand why CBP felt so threatened. Members of the crowd literally included toddlers in diapers, fleeing the tear gas with their terrified mothers.
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A migrant family, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, run away from tear gas in front of the border wall between the U.S and Mexico in Tijuana, Mexico November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon #mexico #tijuana #border #reuters #reutersphotos
US Border Patrol has just launched tear gas into Mexico. Breeze carrying it hundreds of yards. Parents running away with choking toddlers. #migrantcaravan
— Chris Sherman (@chrisshermanAP) November 25, 2018
Meanwhile, our sadistic president has been rage-tweeting about his refusal to help asylum seekers, apparently disregarding the fact that seeking asylum is a legal way to enter the country.
Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem. No crossings!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2018
Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2018
The group of migrants, mostly from Honduras, are fleeing danger and poverty in their home country. Their wait in Tijuana has been so long that their frustration led them to march while some chanted, “We aren’t criminals! We are hard workers.” They’re not being granted permission to even apply for asylum, so it’s easy to see why they’re growing desperate for better conditions while waiting in the stadium.
BuzzFeed reports that the caravan in Tijuana includes up to 5,157 people with more migrants expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Honduran Julio Ulloa says all they hope for is a chance to enter the U.S. to apply for asylum. “Trump says he won’t open the door but God has the last word,” he says. He also points out that conditions in the stadium are only going to get worse as time goes on. “People are frustrated,” Ulloa said. “We barely fit and there are more people coming.”
Which means we can expect to see more horrific clashes between migrants and officials, so the terrifying prospect of even worse violence looms.
How long until it’s decided that tear gas and rubber bullets aren’t enough?