The migrants gathered at the San Diego sector of the United States border with Mexico on New Year’s Eve tried to force their way over the barrier. When turned back by Customs and Border Patrol agents, some in the group started throwing rocks and attempted to push children over the barbed wire atop the barrier.
“Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles,” Katie Waldman, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said. “The agents involved should be applauded for handling the situation with no reported injuries to the attackers.”
The CBP website, like many other federal agency websites, has a banner explaining that because of the partial government shutdown, it is not being regularly updated. But on Tuesday a statement was posted about the violence:
The following is based on initial operational reporting. Last night, approximately 150 migrants attempted to illegally enter the United States by climbing over and crawling under border fence in San Diego Sector. Due to CBP’s increased presence, a first group of 45 turned back towards Mexico. Shortly thereafter, migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at the CBP agents and officers. Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire. Border Patrol agents witnessed members of the group attempt to lift toddler sized children up and over the concertina wire and having difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner. Agents were not in a position to safely assist the children due to the large number of rocks being thrown at them.
To address the rock throwers assaulting agents and risking the safety of migrants attempting to cross who were already on the U.S. side, both smoke and minimal countermeasures were deployed. Agents deployed smoke, pepper spray and CS gas to a position upwind of the rock throwers and south of the border fence. The deployments were not directed at the migrants attempting entry on the U.S. side or at the fence line. The rock throwers were located south of the fence, in an elevated position both above the border fence area and the incursion attempt.