Under the Obama Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) law enforcement officials, including Border Patrol agents, utilized tear gas against migrants at or near the border at least 80 times between FY2012 and early FY2017.
CBP officials reported the use of tear gas and pepper spray to push back “assaultive” caravan migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally on Sunday. The agency began using these particular sprays during the Obama administration in 2010.
Breitbart News confirmed the CBP began using tear gas (2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile – CS) in 2010, though the available usage data initiates in FY2012.
The agency also reportedly began using pepper spray (Pava Capasaicin) at about the same time.
“CBP takes Sunday’s employment of use-of-force very seriously. CBP reviews and evaluates all uses of force incidents to ensure compliance with policy,” a CBP spokesman told Breitbart News in response to an inquiry. “Over 1,000 individuals who were part of the so-called caravan attempted to cross illegally into the U.S. by breaching sections of the fence and using vehicle lanes in and near the San Ysidro Port of Entry. This group ignored law enforcement agencies in Mexico and assaulted U.S. Federal Officers and Agents assigned to respond to the situation in San Diego.”
“As a response to the assaults and to defuse this dangerous situation, trained CBP personnel employed less-lethal devices to stop the actions of assaultive individuals attempting to break into the U.S.,” the spokesman continued. “CBP has been preparing for weeks for events like the one on Sunday. We have seen the use of violence by members of this so-called caravan who have attacked law enforcement personnel in Guatemala, Mexico and now the U.S. CBP will consider using all approved and available resources to protect travelers, caravan members, and our agents and officers.”
The CBP use of force reports show CS tear gas used 126 times since 2012. Officials utilized pepper spray a total of 540 times during that same period.
The current CBP Use of Force Policy handbook (dated May 2014) requires all officers and agents to be trained in the use of all weapons utilized in operations, including less than lethal devices, such as these types of sprays. It also requires the officers and agents to be exposed to the sprays as part of the course of instruction.
During a telephone conference call with news media on Monday, CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said, “Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers in San Diego effectively managed an extremely dangerous situation involving over 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the U.S. unlawfully in large groups. They did so safely and without any reported serious injuries on either side of the border.”
“As we’ve articulated for several weeks, we have been concerned about the size of the caravan, its primarily single-adult composition, and the aggressive and assaultive behavior at both the Honduras-Guatemala border and the Guatemala-Mexico border,” the commissioner continued. “U.S. government officials have noted the presence of criminals in the group, and the Government of Mexico has arrested over 1,000 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico.”
“In the course of these events, individuals engaged in active assaults, throwing dozens of projectiles at CBP law enforcement personnel,” McAleenan explained. “Our Border Patrol agents were able to counter this activity, address the attempted group entry, and resolve the assaults with presence and less-lethal device deployments. Elements of the group then staged west of the port of entry and sought to press into the United States in the area of the Tijuana River channel. This group again became assaultive, with rocks and other projectiles thrown at our agents. Again, four agents were struck by projectiles in these assaults.”
Despite media reports to the contrary, CBP officers and agents operating under the Trump Administration responded the same way they did during the Obama Administration when, in 2013, migrants rushed the same stretch of border, Breitbart News’ Neil Munro reported.
Democrat congressional leaders and Hollywood activists teamed up to condemn the Trump Administration’s use of force in defending the border but ignored President Obama’s prior, identical response.
Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said the migrant caravan members are like the Jews fleeing the Holocaust, while Vermont Senator and possible 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called President Trump’s use of force “authoritarian.”
See additional Breitbart News coverage of the Migrant Caravan here.