A supervising Border Patrol agent said 42 people were arrested Sunday after crossing the border into the U.S., and rejected the notion that “this was a peaceful protest.”
Rodney Scott, the chief agent for the San Diego sector, told CNN on Monday that most of the people taken into custody were adult males who did not seem to be trying to gain asylum.
““Similarly to what we saw the first wave of the caravan that came up a week ago or so, the group immediately started throwing rocks and debris at our agents, taunting the agents,” Scott told CNN. “Once our agents were assaulted and the numbers started growing, we had two or three agents at a time initially, facing hundreds of people at a time, they deployed tear gas to protect themselves and to protect the border.”
He said they are in the process of building the new border wall “but we don’t have it completed.”
“There were some sections that had the dilapidated border wall that was made out of scrap metal the military gave us,” he told CNN. “The group breached a couple of sections of that, actually tore down one small section, started to rush across. That’s another time they started assaulting our agents. We were able to hold them back using riot techniques.”
U.S. border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants who were protesting near the border. Mexican officials say 39 people were arrested on their side of the border during the conflict on Sunday, and the country’s Interior Ministry said around 500 migrants tried to “violently” enter the U.S.
Children could be seen screaming and coughing, but Scott told CNN that the adults are to blame for putting the kids in harm’s way.
“What I find unconscionable is people would intentionally take children into this situation,” he said.
Lurbin Sarmiento, 26, of Honduras recalled to The Associated Press that “we ran, but the smoke always reached us and my daughter was choking.”
Border Patrol Foundation President Ron Colburn defended the use of the tear gas, saying it’s actually OC pepper spray.
“It’s literally water, pepper, with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes,” he told Fox News. “It’s natural. You can actually put it on your nachos and eat it. So it’s a good way of deterring people without long-term harm.”