Mexico Questions US Border Agents Using Tear Gas to Prevent Immigration

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Since the so-called migrant caravan arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, the U.S. Border agents were given the authorization to fire tear gas at anyone trying to enter the country illegally by President Donald Trump. However, Mexico authorities question the use of tear gas by U.S. Border agents to prevent immigration.

The Foreign Ministry sent a notice to the U.S. Embassy insisting a full investigation of the incidents at the San Diego-Tijuana border on Jan. 3, 2019. The use of tear gas against migrants broaching the barrier wall separating the two countries needs to be explained, according to a press release posted by Secretary of Foreign Relations in Mexico. They want an accounting of the incidents that took place on Nov. 25, 2018, and Jan. 1, 2019.

This is the second request made by Mexican authorities, the first was made after the November incident. One issue at hand is the fact the United States is firing chemical weapons into another country. Activists and politicians on both sides of the border criticized the actions of the U.S. Border Agents.

President Donald Trump claimed the use of force is necessary to maintain control, to keep the migrants from attempting to enter the country. Regarding the November gassing, he thinks the agents “had to” use chemical weapons against a crowd of people who rushed the Mexico/United States border.

Trump further stated, “We had tremendous violence – three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt through getting hit with rocks and stones,” according to MSNBC.

False! This is a prime case of the president creating fake news to spread. NBC reported Trump’s administration did not support his statement. The Department of Homeland Security stated there were no such injuries reported during clashes against migrants in Mexico.

After each incident, the president made the same claims. He said that from the Mexico side of the border, some people attempted to either climb the wall or lift their babies over while others threw rocks at border agents. However, these claims are not substantiated, and Mexico’s government wants an investigation and explanation.

While the debate on how to deter illegal immigration into the United States is the subject of discussed in boardrooms, government offices, and around the family dinner table, no one seems to have any answers. Therefore, many people turn a blind eye to the ill-effects of choosing violence as a means to keep migrants from touching the border wall on the Mexico side.

The storyline broadcast by conservatives, Trump included, is that the use of tear gas is harmless. The president called the use of chemical weapons against migrants in Mexico was not only necessary but it was “very minor” and “very safe.”

On Nov. 26, 2018, a “Fox and Friends” guest boldly lied. Former Border Patrol agent Ron Colburn: “This particular group, the caravan, which has been well organized and supported from outside sources, has a core of violence to it that basically communicates a sense of entitlement.” Colburn, who retired in 2009, contends tear gas is “a good way of deterring people without long-term harm.” He even ventured so far as to claim a the gas was so safe it could be eaten.

Where he got this information is anyone’s guess, as tear gas is harmful to a person’s respiratory system, can burn lung tissue which leads to respiratory diseases like chronic asthma. Another common reaction to contact with being gassed is the burning of the skin. Death can occur from infection or being hit with the projectile holding the gas. Luckily for the United States, critical injuries have been reported by those in Mexico.

The statements made by Trump and Colburn are indicative of the falsehoods told by conservative conspiracy theorists. These claims cause more harm to immigrants in and outside of the United States, as well as bolstering the hatred against non-citizens.

It appears Trump has not responded to the first request. Nor has there be a statement have been issued from in response to today’s questions from Mexico about the use of tear gas against immigrants.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


GOB.MX: Mexico Asks for an Investigation into Incident at Tijuana-San Diego Border
MSNBC: Mexico requests ‘full investigation’ after US tear-gas incident
WKRC 12 ABC Cincinnati: Mexico asks US to investigate tear gas incident at border
Heavy.: Ronald Colburn: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Media Matters: Fox & Friends guest defends use of pepper spray on migrant caravan: “It’s natural. You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it.”

Featured and Top Image by Senior Airman Trisha Harris for U.S. Army’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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