Obama administration used tear gas at border once a month

27 November, 2018, 07:54 | Author: Orlando Hughes
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President Donald Trump is strongly defending the USA use of tear gas at the Mexican border to repel a crowd of migrants that included angry rock-throwers but also barefoot, crying children.

Celebrities are slamming President Trump after U.S. Border Patrol authorities used tear gas on Sunday to repel a crowd of caravan migrants who rushed toward the border.

A migrant mother who was trying to illegally enter the United States while scaling a border fence fell off and was impaled.

Over the weekend, USA border agents shot several rounds of tear gas after some migrants attempted to penetrate various points along the border and threw what appeared to be rocks at US authorities. In response, CBP deployed additional personnel to San Ysidro, California, on Sunday in expectation of demonstrations on both sides of the border.

Democratic lawmakers and immigrant rights groups blasted the border agents' Sunday tactics.

Geoffrey Hoffman, a professor and director of the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic, which represents migrants applying for asylum, said the government would use it to push the argument that the migrants should remain in Mexico.

The same tear gas agent that the Trump administration is taking heat for deploying against a border mob this weekend is actually used fairly frequently - including a couple of times a month during some years under President Obama, according to Homeland Security data. US Customs and Border Protection said on Sunday that some migrants were throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents, prompting the agents to respond with force to protect themselves.

Says of tear gas use against migrants, "Is this legal?"

Trump has repeatedly suggested without evidence that the migrant caravans are full of hardened criminals, but they are mostly poor people with few belongings who are fleeing gang violence.

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"Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries", he said.

US Customs and Border Protection officers "were struck by projectiles thrown by caravan members" and "perpetrators will be prosecuted", US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Twitter. Among those affected were pregnant women and children, according to Honduran migrant Myrna Lissete Amaya, who said some of the younger kids fainted.

Rodney S. Scott, chief patrol agent for the San Diego sector, also told CNN that us officials arrested 42 people, mostly adult males, who made it into the United States.

"On the other side, unfortunately, I can not agree on the use of force, not even that type of force that is tear gas or rubber bullets", Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said.

The group was stopped by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire and US Border Patrol agents firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

"The facts are, the policy written under President Obama allows us to use tear gas to disperse a crowd that was very risky", he told the network. "And that is, give us shelter, give them food, water, medicine, everything that a person needs to be dignified and have a place where they can stay dignified", he said.

"This policy that we use was an Obama-written policy and it was used in 2013 at the same port of entry", he told CNN, wondering in particular about the intense media interest now versus then. He said the aim of Sunday's march was to make the migrants' suffering more visible to USA and Mexican officials.

US authorities made 69 arrests on Sunday.

The calamity lead to the temporary closing of the border crossing, adding to the confusion and chaos.

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