Photo: Scientific American


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in California launched tear gas on a group of about 150 migrants who were trying to illegally force their way across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, Tuesday, Jan. 1.

CBP officials later stated that the tear gas was targeted at a small group of adult males who were throwing rocks at the officers and did not harm any unarmed women or children.

U.S. Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman added that the agents who launched the tear gas “were reacting to a violent mob,” using “the minimum force necessary to defend themselves.”

But according to some media reports, the rock throwing did not begin until after the tear gas was released.

While most of the migrants, who were reportedly members of a Honduran caravan that had arrived in Tijuana in late December, responded to the tear gas by retreating back to Mexico, 25 of them made their way across into the United States and were detained by CBP agents.

CBP agents previously dispersed teargas on a group of undocumented migrant protesters who were trying to enter the United States from Tijuana on Nov. 26, injuring women and children.

Currently there are approximately 6,000 mostly Central American migrants in Tijuana awaiting entry into the United States, the majority of whom have arrived since October of last year.

The Mexican government has requested an “exhaustive investigation” into the Jan. 1 incident.

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