President Donald Trump tried to playdown the sights of migrant children tear-gassed at the southern U.S. border during the weekend, putting the blame the violence on the migrants.
He told reporters Monday that three U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents “were very badly hurt, getting hit with rocks and stones” after shutting the San Ysidro port of entry on Sunday. This opposes the CBP commissioner, who has revealed that no agents were badly injured.
Trump added, agents were required to use force, “because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas.” He also said the tear gas was “very safe” and the people suffering from its effects “to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out there.”
The officials released tear gas on a group of migrants after they tried to overpower a border fence. The Associated Press saw children screaming and coughing amid the gas.
Trump stated further “You really say, why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming and it’s going to be formed and they’re running up with a child? “In some cases, you know, they’re not the parents. These are people, they call them grabbers.”
He used the word to describe people that he claims, without proof, pretend to cross the border with their children in order to get preferential treatment.
Kevin McAleenan, CBP commissioner refutes that any border agents were injured in the tussle.
He said on Monday in a statement ″[CBP] effectively managed an extremely dangerous situation involving over 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the US unlawfully in large groups, “They did so safely and without any reported serious injuries on either side of the border.”
About 5,600 migrants who have journeyed from Central America are presently sheltering in a sports complex in Tijuana, awaiting to apply for asylum in the U.S. The Trump administration has restricted the number of asylum applications it processes daily and has chosen, on days like Sunday, to close primary ports of entry.
This means the migrants could remain in Mexico until further notice, placing strain on a city not equipped to handle the influx. A few Tijuana residents have already clashed with police over the presence of the migrants.