U.S. border protection agents fired tear gas into Mexico early Tuesday aimed at about 150 migrants who were trying to scale over and crawl under a border fence to cross into the U.S., according to The Associated Press.
White clouds of acrid smoke could be seen wafting over the migrants' heads in video captured by Reuters. Migrants coughed and bent over as they walked through the haze. At least one person hurled a canister back toward U.S. agents.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said the migrants were part of "a violent mob" that attacked U.S. agents with projectiles. Katie Waldman told reporter Wendy Fry "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."
Statement from @DHSgov spokeswoman about U.S. border agents firing tear gas on migrant group trying to cross border fence when some in group threw rocks at @CBP officers in San Diego @CBPSanDiego pic.twitter.com/OF3pyet7d0
— WendyFry (@WendyFry_) January 2, 2019
An AP photographer at the scene said the migrants began throwing rocks after the tear gas was fired.
The men, women and children on the Mexico side of the border arrived with the caravan of thousands of migrants who say they are fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Most have been stopped in Mexico and have been waiting in shelters in Tijuana for weeks for a chance to apply for asylum in the U.S. Several of the migrants told the Los Angeles Times they tried to cross the border illegally after growing frustrated with the deadlocked process.