US fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants

Border Patrol agents hold their guns as migrants try to go over the border fence near Tijuana Mexico

Discouraged by the long wait to apply for asylum through official ports of entry, many migrants from recent caravans are choosing to cross the US border wall and hand themselves in to border patrol agents.

Border Protection said adults were attempting to move "toddler-sized children" across the border through the barbed wire but that hurled rocks prevented the agents from helping the children in distress.

The agency said it couldn't assist children attempting to cross the border because of the rocks being thrown at its officers.

News photographers captured images of migrants massed on the Mexican side of the border, lowering people down onto razor wire coiled along the ground at the bottom of the USA side of the fence.

In late November, also in the Tijuana area, USA 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.

The media agency further says that border agents fired three volleys of the gas as well as plastic pellets and pepper spray.

However, it turned out not to be the case: as the migrants prepared to climb the fence, US Customs and Border Protection agents retaliated with tear gas and arrested 25 people, including two teenagers.

After the attempt, part of the group stayed near the border and other Central Americans arrived and joined them. "We don't like that type of violence of throwing rocks".

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called the crossings a "major incident" and reached out to French officials for more coordination. He said it was vital the United Kingdom struck "a balance between protecting them (migrants) and protecting our borders".

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 unsafe situation".

USA border patrol agents used tear gas to keep the group from approaching the crossing line.

Border Protection told AP that its Office of Professional Responsibility will be assessing the incident to see if the amount of force used was justified.

Clouds of the noxious gas could be seen wafting up from around the fence at the border.

Co-host Brian Kilmeade pushed back on any criticism that President Donald Trump's calling for a border wall was a midterm election issue before saying "Our border is in chaos".

Trump refused to back down on his border wall project, despite it being the cause a partial government shutdown that has continued into its 11th day.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NPR's Steve Inskeep, "We think this will disincentivize folks who think that if they can make the transit through Mexico - a very hard and arduous journey where awful things often happen to these migrants - we think they will realize that they won't be able to stay in the United States and disappear into our country".

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