Over the weekend, the Trump administration used tear gas on the migrant caravans at the US-Mexico border. Critics have blasted Trump for the action which affected women and children.
During the weekend, a caravan of several hundred Central American migrants clashed with the Mexican police and US Border Patrol agents near the San Ysidro crossing. The group included women who were pushing children in strollers.
The group was frustrated with how long the process of crossing the border and applying for asylum has been taking and scuffles broke out. To dispel them, the US Border Patrol agents fired tear gas into the crowds.
On Sunday, migrants began throwing what appeared to be rocks at the border fence that separates California from Mexico. According to the US Customs and Border Patrol, several agents were hit by the projectiles.
They decided to use tear gas “to dispel the group because of the risk to agents’ safety.” However, Mexico's foreign ministry later presented a diplomatic note to the US government calling for "a full investigation" into what it called the use of non-lethal weapons directed towards Mexican territory.
The decision to use tear gas on Sunday on the crowds that contained a large number of women and children was also condemned by high-profile Democrats. Many people also took to Twitter to slam the president's administration and their decisions.
@RepMaloney tweeted, "Let me repeat myself in case you didn't hear or read the US legal code. @realDonaldTrump: Seeking asylum is LEGAL. Migrants at our border are looking for help. Yet, instead of greeting them w understanding, you deploy tear gas. Shameful & disgusting."
However, Trump has defended the use of tear gas. He then tweeted saying, "Mexico should move the flag-waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it any way you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!"
New York Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has harshly criticized all of Trump's views regarding migrants. She likened Central American migrants to Jewish families fleeing Nazi Germany and went on to say that she believes applying for refugee status should not be considered a crime.
Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom, recently elected as governor of California, wrote, “These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas. Women and children who left their lives behind - seeking peace and asylum - were met with violence and fear. That’s not my America. We’re a land of refuge. Of hope. Of freedom. And we will not stand for this."
In the midst of the current situation. A 2013 story about the Obama administration using a similar method on disorderly migrants resurfaced.
According to reports, almost five years ago to the day, Border Patrol agents used pepper spray to force back a crowd of migrants who had tried to illegally cross the border. That group had also thrown rocks and bottles at agents.
The 2013 clashes, did not receive as much coverage nor were any of the migrants arrested. However, forty-two people, most of whom were men, were arrested on Sunday during the clashes.