Border Agents Fire Tear Gas at Asylum-Seekers Across the Border

SAN DIEGO, CA -- In the first hours of 2019, Border Patrol agents again fired tear gas canisters across the border into Tijuana at a group of asylum-seeking families with small children seeking safety and protection at our nation’s borders.

The agents claimed to have fired the tear gas canisters in response to ‘rock throwers,’ but media outlets and witnesses on the ground disputed that assertion. An Associated Press photographer said that multiple volleys of tear gas were fired by Border Patrol unprompted, and a witness quoted by Reuters also backed up the claim.

This is the second time in two months that federal agents have fired tear gas across the border at asylum-seeking families with children in our region. It is part of a long history of excessive use of force by Customs and Border Protection, and part of Trump’s push to manufacture chaos of the border to justify a border wall.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, issued the following statement:

“People fleeing dangerous, life-threatening situations have the right to ask for asylum. But instead of helping people in their hour of need, border agents are firing tear gas at vulnerable families with children. This horrific act is sadly a part of a long history of excessive force used by Customs and Border Protection agents at the southern border.

Border agents continue to perpetuate falsehoods and manipulate information and facts as justification for their violent behavior towards migrant children and their families, who are so desperately seeking safety. We need to rein in these unaccountable agents, and put an end to the culture of impunity under which they operate.

Our border region should be a place of opportunity and hope, not conflict and fear. We should treat families seeking refuge like we would want our own loved ones to be treated.”

About Alliance San Diego

Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community empowerment organization working to ensure that all people can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality, and justice. Our mission is to provide a means for diverse individuals and organizations to share information, collaborate on issues and mobilize for change in the pursuit of social justice, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. We pursue this mission through targeted civic engagement programs and strategic coalitions that focus on specific issues and policy reforms.