Migrants faced tear gas once again as they tried to cross the US-Mexico border from Tijuana to San Diego on New Year’s Eve.
Around 100 Central American caravan migrants failed in their attempt to cross the border and enter the US on Monday.
As night fell and people on both sides of the border prepared to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the migrants tried to cross over.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) then hurled two smoke bombs at the migrants, holding them back.
One migrant could be seen with his face covered in treatment after tear gas was thrown at the Mexican side of the fence in Tijuana.
Other photos showed migrants trying to take cover as a thick wall of tear gas surrounded them, or crying out in pain after they were hit by the gas.
The Department of Homeland Security accused the ‘violent mob of migrants’ of initiating attacks against U.S. border agents.
‘Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles,’ DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman said.
‘As has happened before – in this and previous administrations – our personnel used the minimum force necessary to defend themselves, defend our border, and restore order.
‘The agents involved should be applauded for handling the situation with no reported injuries to the attackers.
‘Initial reporting indicates that once the attempted illegal entry was thwarted by agents, the mob began pushing women and minors to the front, forcing minors to climb dangerous concertina wire, and encouraged conveniently invited media to begin filming their illegal acts.
‘Unfortunately, Congress continues to ignore the professional advice from the men and women of the Border Patrol who have told them that walls work.
‘Congress needs to fully fund the border wall, amend the TVPRA, and end the Flores Settlement Agreement that encourages and rewards this type of lawlessness by migrants at the border.’
The incident comes a month after the Trump administration was heavily criticized for tear-gassing mothers and children at the border.
US Border Patrol shot tear gas and rubber bullets at a group of migrants, including toddlers, as members of the caravan tried to storm the border in November.
Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem at the San Ysidro Port of Entry when American agents tried to push the surging Central Americans back.
Donald Trump later defended the use of tear gas on the crowd, claiming that border agents were ‘being rushed by some very tough people’.
Trump also claimed the gas was ‘very safe’ and only a ‘very minor form’ of tear gas.
The president has yet to comment on Monday night’s tear-gassing, although his rant against the Democrats for refusing to fund his wall has only continued amid the ongoing government shutdown.
‘One thing has now been proven. The Democrats do not care about Open Borders and all of the crime and drugs that Open Borders bring!’ Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Monday’s tear-gassing comes days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) suddenly dropped off about 130 Central American migrants at an El Paso bus station with no food, shelter, or money.
City officials were left scrambling on Christmas Day to provide a place to stay for the migrants, most of whom were planning to travel to another destination so they could stay with a sponsor while the government reviews requests for asylum.
The controversial move came on the same day CPB ordered medical checks on every child in its custody after an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency’s care in December.
The deaths of the two migrant children have sparked outrage over the administration’s policies toward asylum seekers.
Meanwhile, ICE has been releasing migrants from detention centers for weeks due to overcapacity, according to Texas Monthly.
The released migrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, were found by asylum officers to have a credible fear of persecution if they were to be repatriated.
They have been permitted to stay in the US while pursuing the uphill legal battle of obtaining asylum.
ICE usually coordinates with local groups, charities, and nonprofits to arrange the orderly handover of migrants so that they could be housed in shelters.
But the agency gave no explanation as to why it dumped scores of migrants on the streets of El Paso without any food or shelter in 40-degree weather on Christmas Day.
Generous Good Samaritans have stepped up and provided food to the migrants while local groups have arranged for temporary shelter.
Because of the government shut down, ICE would not comment.
‘All of ICE’s public affairs officers are out of the office for the duration of the government shutdown,’ the agency said.
‘We are unable to respond to media queries during this period because we are prohibited by law from working.’
‘ICE gave us a heads up about an hour or two ago that we were going to get 200 folks Downtown,’ Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, told the El Paso Times.
‘This group right now is about 100, so we don’t know if we are going to get another 100 or if this is it for the day.’
Democratic congresswoman Veronica Escobar called the government’s actions ‘unacceptable.’
‘The federal government has an obligation to assist and not just leave people out in the cold, which is what they did yesterday and what they did the day before when they left people at and around the Greyhound bus station and that is what they did in October,’ she told the Texas Tribune.
‘That is unacceptable. Simply ridding itself of migrants is not a solution.’
‘If they are able to create tent cities to jail children, then they should absolutely be able to construct the same kind of facilities as they did in 2016 to assist the migrants.’
‘The federal government needs to step up and dumping people out on the streets is not stepping up.’
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