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An immigrant shows the cameras a can of tear gas on the border with Tijuana. Photo: Reuters
An immigrant shows the cameras a can of tear gas on the border with Tijuana. Photo: Reuters

The border with Mexico received the New Year amid tear gas

U.S. Border Patrol dispersed a group of immigrants trying to cross the border from Mexico on New Year's Day, using tear gas and pepper spray.

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When it comes to the border, there are no New Year holidays.

Early Tuesday morning, border agents fired tear gas at a small group of immigrants they characterized as a "violent mob" in the Tijuana area.

U.S. officials said it was retaliation against a group of migrants who "attacked the agents with projectiles," according to an official statement. Witnesses from Reuters disputed the facts, however.

The media described "clouds of noxious gas" that could be "seen wafting from around the fence at the border," where an immigrant "picked up a canister and threw it back into U.S. territory."

Similarly, the Associated Press reported, "rocks were only thrown after agents fired tear gas."

The group of approximately 100 immigrants, which included minors, planned to take advantage of the end of the year celebrations to try to cross the border without being intercepted.

"Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets, and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire," wrote the government agency, describing how members of the group "attempted to lift toddler sized children up and over the concertina wire", in front of which U.S. officials sprayed the tear gas.

The statement assures that the gases were deployed "to a position upwind" and that they “were not directed at the migrants."

The Border Patrol also reported that they made 25 arrests, including two teenagers.

Using the incident as an argument, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman called on Congress to "fully fund the border wall."

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