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Tear gas at the border yesterday. Tear gas at the border yesterday.

US border agents repel migrants with tear gas after attempt to cross illegally

'Violent mob' of about 150 Central Americans tried crossing near Tijuana

Another attempt by migrants to cross from Mexico into the United States was repelled by U.S. border patrol agents yesterday who fired tear gas over the border.

About 150 Central American migrants, described by a U.S. official as a “violent mob,” tried to cross illegally shortly after midnight near Tijuana, where several thousand migrants have been camping since arriving in Mexico in October and November.

The U.S. said its security forces fired tear gas after migrants threw rocks, but the Associated Press reported that rocks were not thrown until after the tear gas was fired. A report by Reuters said one migrant was struck by a tear gas canister.

About 10 children, bundled in blankets and heavy jackets, were passed over the razor wire-topped border fence, witnesses said.

But U.S. authorities said of the 25 people detained only two were minors.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Katie Waldman said “a violent mob of migrants” had attempted to enter the U.S. illegally “by attacking our agents with projectiles . . . our personnel used the minimum force necessary to defend themselves, defend our border and restore order.”

She said once agents had thwarted the attempt to cross, “the mob began pushing women and minors to the front, forcing minors to climb dangerous concertina wire, and encouraged conveniently invited media to begin filming their illegal acts.”

Waldman criticized the U.S. Congress for ignoring “the professional advice from the men and women of the Border Patrol who have told them that walls work. Congress needs to fully fund the border wall . . . .”

In November, U.S. agents used tear gas to thwart an attempt by migrants to cross the border illegally and closed the border between Tijuana and San Diego for six hours.

Source: BBC News (en), El Sol de Tijuana (sp), NPR (en)

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