Authorities use tear gas to stop migrants at southern border

DHS asks for monthlong extension on troops at nation's southern border

The new year brought continued tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border as U.S. authorities fired tear gas at migrants from the Central American caravan that has gathered there.

Authorities fired the gas into Mexico to keep roughly 150 migrants from breaching the border fence in Tijuana.

An Associated Press photographer witnessed at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border near Tijuana’s beach early Tuesday. It affected the migrants, including women and children, as well as members of the press.

Migrants who spoke with AP said they arrived last month with the caravan from Honduras.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement that the gas was aimed at rock throwers on the Mexican side who prevented agents from helping children being passed over the concertina wire. The agency says 25 migrants were detained.

Such clashes have been common as the migrants, who have put their names on a waiting list that is thousands of names long, have grown restless, with some opting to force their way across the border.

U.S. border agents have responded to such moves with tear gas.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said last year that the Border Patrol’s use-of-force policy allows agents to use tear gas and other nonlethal methods.

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 dangerous situation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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