Were women and children or a “mob” tear-gassed at U.S. border?

“I was sad, scared, and waiting to cry,” she told Reuters. “That’s when I grabbed my daughters and started running. At that moment I thought I was going to die with them because of the gas. It wasn’t right. They know we are human beings, the same as them. It wasn’t right they did that to the children.”
According to reports, Meza fell into the mud before another male migrant pulled her up.

San Diego Border Patrol Chief Agent Rodney Scott said on Tuesday U.S. officials do not target women and children.

“If women and children choose to insert themselves into a violent crowd that is attacking police officers with rocks and bottles, there are going to be unintended consequences. We’re doing everything we can to message that at the migrant shelters,” Scott said.

Scott said border patrol agents are using the “least intrusive tools” they have.

“The United States Border Patrol agents will not stand there and get assaulted with rocks and bottles and not respond,” he added. “… Again, I want to state that the pepper gas is an irritant, there is no permanent harm, but the easiest way to avoid it is comply with the law, go to the port of entry and then get in line with everybody else.”

Waiting for asylum
On Monday, the Mexican government released a statement saying 98 people were placed on removal proceedings due to “violent behavior” towards the Mexican federal police at the U.S. Mexico border.

On the U.S. side, border patrol agents arrested 42 people who had illegally crossed the border. Of the 42, seven were women and a few were children.
Since the arrival of the migrant caravan two weeks about in Tijuana, Mexico, local authorities in both countries have ramped up security.

A spokesman for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, told VOA that as of November 21, 4,731 migrants had arrived in Tijuana. Among them are 862 children. In addition, UNICEF said another 4,000 migrants were on the way to Tijuana.

Criminals in the crowd?
“Through intel sources we’ve identified at least 600 criminals in and around the caravan,” Houlton said. “… We can’t get into how those methods are conducted. That’s all I can tell you. The people have criminal records that we’ve identified.”

Asylum waiting list
Those hoping to apply for asylum in the United States are putting their names on a waiting list that reportedly already had 3,000 signatures before the arrival of the caravan in Tijuana.

U.S. officials have been processing about 100 claims a day, and the wait time for the recent arrivals is expected to be months.

“They’re coming from countries that are deeply affected by a lot of our policies and affected by conflict and years of struggle. So, they have very valid cases for seeking asylum,” Kharrazi said.Under U.S. law, anyone arriving at a port of entry or crossing in between ports of entry is eligible to apply for asylum if they have a fear of returning to their home country. Trump issued a proclamation November 9 that barred anyone from claiming asylum who entered the country illegally. But a federal judge blocked the measure until it can be tried in court December 19.

Without offering more details, DHS officials said the vast majority of migrants are coming for “economic reasons and not asylum.”

“Wanting to work in the U.S. is not asylum, wanting to be united with family in the U.S. is not asylum,” Houlton said.

This article is published courtesy of the Voice of America (VOA)