border patrol watches for illegal crossing tijuana A Border Patrol vehicle sits along the border fence separating San Diego and Tijuana in March 2016. (Donna Burton/Customs and Border Protection)

Border Patrol Deploys Tear Gas, Pepper Spray to Deter 150 New Year’s Eve Migrants

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.”

Multimedia journalist James Cullum is Managing Editor of Homeland Security Today's Federal Pages. He has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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