Is it legal for tear gas to be used against migrants?

Arturo Kim
November 27, 2018

"This morning, CBP was forced to close the San Ysidro Port of Entry to ensure public safety in response to a large number of migrants seeking to enter the USA illegally".

Over the weekend, violent clashes occurred as the United States attempted to stem the flow of people crossing into the country.

Border Patrol agents countered using "less lethal devices", which included tear gas and "other projectiles", but not rubber bullets.

Mr McAleenan added: "As the events unfolded, quick, decisive and effective action prevented an extremely risky situation".

President Donald Trump said the USA will close its southern border with Mexico if needed, a day after US agents shot several rounds of tear gas at migrants, some of whom tried to breach a border fence.

Many users on social media debated whether tear gas is a chemical weapon, and if it is, why was it used against migrants?

The tweet comes as 42 migrants were arrested on the USA side of the Mexico border, according to a San Diego Sector Border Patrol official.

"What I saw on the border yesterday was not people walking up to Border Patrol agents and asking to claim asylum", Scott said.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that the agency has "confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan".

A migrant family from Honduras runs from tear gas released by U.S. border patrol near the fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana
Image A migrant family runs from tear gas released by US border patrol

For weeks before the 6 November congressional elections, Mr Trump raised the alarm about the migrant caravans and ordered some 5,800 U.S. troops to the border to support border patrol agents. There can be no disagreement when it comes to firing tear gas on innocent families.

On Monday, Trump tweeted the caravan at the border included "stone cold criminals".

Trump has deployed military forces to the border to support the Border Patrol and threatened on Saturday to close the entire southern border.

In Tijuana, hundreds of caravan members including women and children protested peacefully.

In rare criticism of the migrants, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission said it "reiterates that members of the caravans that cross our country should respect Mexican laws and not engage in actions that affect the communities they pass through".

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said the throngs of migrants who have descended on his city is tantamount to a humanitarian crisis, and he declared an emergency. "And so Democrats... most of what they have been able to offer to people is basically, 'Yes, we agree to be tough on the border and enforcement, but here are a few exceptional immigrants that we are willing to fight for'".

"Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it any way you want, but they are NOT coming into the United States of America", the president, who spent his Thanksgiving break with his family at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida said. "Congress, fund the WALL!"

"We were told that if we crossed (the first barrier) they would give us asylum, because we were already in the United States", said Flor Jimenez, a 32-year-old Honduran woman who was among those who turned back along with her husband, sister and young daughter.

United States authorities needed to "minimize the level of force that is being used", he added.

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