In an incident that echoed the violent clash between migrants and Mexican police that unfolded a month ago when a caravan of migrants attempted to cross into Mexico from Guatemala, the first episode of migrant-caravan related violence was reported Saturday by the border patrol.
US border agents detained a Honduran man in Arizona who had broken away from one of the caravans headed toward the US border after the man pelted the agents with rocks while attempting to avoid capture.
The 31-year-old undocumented migrant, who was not named by his captives, had climbed a tree to try and avoid capture, then started throwing rocks at the agents, as well as at a helicopter that had been summoned to track him, according to the Washington Times.
After being taken in to custody, the man told agents that he had been part of one of the migrant caravans that had been featured on the news. According to the Times, the man had previously been arrested in the US, and had been deported in June back to Honduras.
The incident occurred as some 10,500 migrants have been gathering on the Mexican side of the border, awaiting an opportunity to cross into the US. And that opportunity might soon present itself, as some of the nearly 6,000 troops sent to the border by President Trump have started to return to their homse. President Trump specifically warned about the dangers of “rocking” – as border agents call them – as attacks with rocks can seriously injure border agents.
Images of the caravan have mostly focused on women and children, but the DHS has repeatedly insisted that most of its members are adult males from Central America. The border patrol has been increasingly worried about incidents of “rocking”, which can involve migrants hefting small boulders with enough force to break bones or damage vehicles or other equipment.
The attack on the border agents occurred around the time that reports about a new asylum policy, worked out between the US and Mexico, first broke. According to these reports, asylum applicants who present themselves at US border checkpoints will be detained in Mexico while they await a court hearing – effectively ending the policy of “catch and release”, where the asylum seekers were allowed to remain at large inside the US. However, Mexico on Sunday denied reports that the incoming administration had agreed to the plan.
Border agents said they were first alerted to the presence of the migrant when they spotted footprints along the border just east of the Andrade, California crossing point.