On New Year’s Eve, U.S. Customs and Border Protection deployed pepper spray, smoke and tear gas against an estimated 150 migrants trying to illegally enter the country, according to a statement released Jan. 1.
CBP reported that a number of the migrants threw rocks at CBP agents, prompting the countermeasures. Twenty-five people were arrested, including two teenagers, and no injuries were reported.
“Due to CBP’s increased presence, a first group of 45 turned back towards Mexico. Shortly thereafter, migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at the CBP agents and officers,” according to the CBP statement. “Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire. Border Patrol agents witnessed members of the group attempt to lift toddler-sized children up and over the concertina wire and having difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner. Agents were not in a position to safely assist the children due to the large number of rocks being thrown at them.”
Most of the migrants returned through a hole in the border fence, and by climbing over the fence, CBP reported.
“No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away,” CBP noted. “Under CBP use-of-force policy, this incident will be reviewed by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.”