US agents fire tear gas to stop fence crossing

Agents used smoke, pepper spray and tear gas "to address the rock throwers assaulting agents and risking the safety of migrants attempting to cross who were already on the United States side", CBP said.

A "violent mob" of illegal immigrants tried to ring in the new year by rushing the border in California and Border Patrol agents fired tear gas at them to repel the incursion, Homeland Security officials said Tuesday.

An Associated Press photographer witnessed at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border near Tijuana's beach early Tuesday.

The migrants said they were part of the caravan of people from Central America who arrived at the border over the last couple of months, escalating what had already been a strained border security regime. The agency says 25 migrants were detained.

"Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire".

The gases caused people to stop throwing rocks and flee, CBP said. "Border Patrol agents witnessed members of the group attempt to lift toddler-sized children up and over the concertina wire and having difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner", CBP said.

Border Protection told AP that its Office of Professional Responsibility will be assessing the incident to see if the amount of force used was justified. The White House announced in December that Mexico, rather than the US, will house migrants while they wait for their asylum cases to be processed.

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CNN has reached out to Families Belong Together, an advocacy group that works with migrants at the border, but didn't get an immediate response.

Tear gas was sacked as migrants tried to cross the border into the US.

Independent of border funding, the Trump administration has taken steps to tighten rules around asylum seekers.

The migrants in both cases were part of a caravan that left Central America in October and traveled 4,300 kilometers (2,600 miles) to Tijuana in the hope of reaching the U.S. and requesting asylum.

The Border Patrol used tear gas against a storm of illegal immigrants November 25, prompting criticism from some Democrats, including one senator who suggested the chemical deterrent violated worldwide law. Others have found jobs in Mexico and tried to settle there. Hundreds of migrants who were downwind of the gas were affected.

The migrants arrested during Monday night's incident will likely face deportation proceedings but will also have the opportunity to apply for asylum.

Ms. Waldman said President Trump's proposed border wall could have helped in this case.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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