Flashback: Obama Administration’s Border Patrol Shot Pepper Balls At Migrants In 2013

Amber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor

Democrats are hammering the Trump administration for using tear gas to deter migrants who are rushing the southern border, but the Obama administration used similar tactics in 2013.

U.S. and Mexico border agents deployed tear gas against migrants in Tijuana after the migrants threw rocks at agents and tried to storm the border to gain illegal entry into the United States.

Democratic Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz deleted a tweet comparing the tear gas to chemical weapons but later accused Border Patrol of specifically spraying children with the gas. Some women and children were affected by the gas because it spreads quickly, but there is no evidence to suggest Border Patrol specifically targeted families.

Qasim Rashid compared the use of tear gas to authoritarian regimes who used lethal gas on their own citizens.

Ben Rhodes, a former top Obama aide, suggested that the use of tear gas on the border is immoral.

The criticism of the Trump administration for deploying tear gas, however, ignores the fact that the Obama administration used similar tactics to deter migrant hordes in 2013.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, a group of about 100 migrants near the San Ysidro port of entry threw rocks and bottles at Border Agents in November 2013. The agents responded by shooting pepper balls into the crowd and forcing them back into Mexico.

Mary Beth Caston, a Border Patrol spokeswoman, said at the time that a lone agent used pepper balls to defend himself when he was confronted by the large group. As the group advanced on the border, agents used other “intermediate use-of-force devices” to stop them.

On the same day Border Patrol used force to push back migrants, President Barack Obama expressed the need for a stronger border and urged Congress to work on immigration reform.

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