U.S. uses tear gas at southern border


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Here is a miles-long stretch of the border between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. Many southern central Americans attempt to cross this border every year in hopes of a new life in America.

Just after the ball dropped on New Year’s Day, about 150 illegal immigrants were sprayed with tear gas by the US Border Patrol as they attempted to cross the border in Tijuana, Mexico. Many of the migrants that night had already been waiting months to receive asylum to live in America legally.

The immigrants were likely from a caravan of Central Americans, who had recently arrived in Tijuana by walking, hitchhiking and taking buses across Mexico. They were waiting in a line of almost 3,000 others seeking asylum which would allow them to live in the US. However, with only 100 or so claims being processed each day, the migrants likely got impatient, meaning more took their chances at the border

“It’s pretty sad that they were sprayed with tear gas. It probably hurts a lot, but they knew that what they were doing was illegal and should expect some violence to come of it. I don’t encourage violence at the border at all, but you can’t expect nothing to happen if you try to cross illegally,” senior Adam Mirsky said.

On the opposite side of the border, numerous officers were hidden in trees and bushes while wearing camouflage. Armed with assault rifles and night-vision goggles, the US Border Patrol agents already suspected another round of immigrants to come that night, seeing as this pattern had been continuing for weeks.

The officers warned the migrants to “get back” as they got closer to the wall. However, as they continued to climb without hesitation, the agents launched the first barrage of tear gas. A second and third round of gas were fired at the immigrants and their children. The migrants almost immediately fled after being sprayed. A thick, dark smoke surrounded the screams, cries and coughs while the children were hysterical.

“That’s absolutely terrible that children were purposefully sprayed with tear gas. The adults fully understand the circumstances, but that’s just cruel to do that when there are children present. They need to handle the situation a lot more responsibly next time,” sophomore Marco Martinez said.

The Border Patrol agents began detaining immigrants at a rate of about 150 per day, with increasing numbers to come. The daily apprehensions have increased to about 45% now in the San Diego area.

“I knew that so many immigrants try to cross the border each day, but I didn’t know how intense it was. It’s kind of crazy that every day, tons of people are attacked with things like tear gas, pepper spray and sometimes even guns. It makes me pretty grateful that we get to live in such a nice community and go to a public school free of all that violence and fear,” freshman Matt Rothman said.