(CNSNews.com) - During a press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House “would never want children to be in harm’s way.”
“Certainly, the White House would never want children to be in harm’s way, in any capacity whatsoever. However, that is why we are continuing to encourage people to follow the law and go to ports of entry,” Sanders said, after a reporter asked whether the White House regretted the fact that children were affected by tear gas at the border between the U.S. and Mexico over the weekend.
On Sunday, U.S. Border Patrol agents deployed tear gas toward migrant protesters in Tijuana, Mexico, after a group of them rushed the border and threw rocks at U.S. agents.
According to San Diego Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, very few of the protesters were women or children.
“We ended up making about 42 arrests,” Scott told CNN on Monday. “Only eight of those were females, and there were only a few children involved. The vast majority of the people we’re dealing with are adult males.”
In the briefing on Tuesday, Sanders pointed out that Border Patrol agents used the tear gas to protect themselves, and that Sunday’s incident was not “the first time” that tear gas has been used.
“Law enforcement officials have used appropriate, non-lethal force to protect themselves and prevent an illegal rush across the border, and let’s also not forget that this isn’t the first time that non-lethal force like this has been used,” the press secretary said.
Sanders said tear gas was used by the Obama administration on multiple occasions.
“In fact, tear gas was used, on average, once a month during the Obama administration for very similar circumstances,” Sanders said. “In fact, they were actually for far less circumstances because they didn’t have the same numbers and the mass rush that we’re seeing, in this caravan, take place.”
She concluded by reiterating the White House’s desire for migrants to stay out of harm’s way and further encouraging asylum seekers to use ports of entry when attempting to enter the U.S.
“Certainly, no one wants women or children or any individuals to have this happen, which is why we’ve encouraged them to actually follow the law and go to ports of entry,” Sanders said.