Tear gas fired as dozens of migrants try illegal crossing to US

CBP said migrants began to throw rocks at agents from the Mexican side while others tried to cross the concertina wire, including passing "toddler-sized children" over the wire.

Last time the United States border patrol resorted to tear gas to fend off an avalanche of migrants trying to break through the fence in November, it sparked a massive backlash after videos and photos of women and children as young as three coughing and fleeing in disarray went viral.

The illegal immigrants who spoke to AP said they were part of the migrant caravan that arrived at Tijuana last month.

In a statement, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said an initial group of 45 migrants turned back towards Mexico, due to the increased presence of Border Patrol agents.

In November, U.S. border agents fired tear gas at a crowd of migrants moving toward the U.S. -Mexico border. The agency said small children were also being put over the fence, adding the migrants were "having difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner". "As agents were deploying less lethal chemical munitions (to include CS gas and inert smoke) in response to the assault, the group pushed women and children over the primary wall and into the concertina wire".

According to the Los Angeles Times, several migrants claimed to have not witnessed rock throwing, while others said they disagreed with the act.

Some of the migrants threw rocks at police officers on the USA side of the border, American authorities said.

Customs and Border Protection said the incident would be reviewed by its Office of Professional Responsibility, under its policy on use of force. "However, this incident needs to be examined within the broader context of U.S. policies at the border".

As night fell and people on both sides of the frontier prepared to celebrate New Year´s Eve, the migrants tried to cross over but at least two smoke bombs were fired and they were ultimately held back.

Those calls have been met with resistance on Capitol Hill, where Democrats say they won't approve any increase in funding for the president's border wall, and say the people attempting to force their way into the USA are refugees fleeing violence back home in Central America, and should be given a chance at asylum.

CBP said it was investigating the incident after the group attempted to travel into the USA near the border crossing in Tijuana shortly after midnight.

A Reuters witness documented in one photo where a migrant had been hit by what appeared to be a gas canister.

Ms. Waldman said President Trump's proposed border wall could have helped in this case.

  • Joey Payne