CBP: 42 Caravan Members Arrested on U.S. Soil Sunday; 'Unconscionable' to Take Children Into That Situation

Susan Jones | November 26, 2018 | 10:30am EST
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Television footage aired on Fox News shows a crowd of illegal immigrants attempting to storm the U.S. border near San Diego. (Photo: Screen capture/Fox News)

(CNSNews.com) - Rodney Scott, the chief Border Patrol agent for San Diego Sector, told CNN on Monday that the migrant protests in Tijuana on Sunday were not exactly peaceful; that the majority of those rushing the U.S. border were men, some of whom pushed women and children ahead of them; and that 42 people were arrested after making it onto U.S. soil illegally, never stopping to request asylum.

Scott also defended his agents' use of tear gas after some in the crowd threw rocks at Border Patrol agents.

We ended up making about 42 arrests. 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.

Similar to what we saw with that first wave of the caravan that came up about a week or so ago, the group immediately started throwing rocks and debris at our agents, taunting the agents. And once our agents were assaulted, and the numbers started growing, we had two or three agents at a time initially, facing hundreds of people at a time -- they deployed tear gas to protect themselves and to protect the border.

Scott said at least three agents were struck by rocks, but their tactical gear protected them from injury. The rocks did damage some Border Patrol vehicles, he said.

Host John Berman noted that some news photos show women and children included in the crowd that was tear-gassed on Sunday.

"When the threat is to our personnel or to protect others, you've got to do what you've got to do," Scott said. "What I find unconscionable is that people would intentionally take children into this situation. What we saw over and over yesterday is that the group, the caravan as we call them, would push women and children towards the front and then begin basically rocking our agents.

"So there's different types of tools we use, CS gas deployment. We try to target specifically the instigators, the person assaulting the agent. But as you saw from the vehicle, once that chemical is released, it does go through the air. I was in an area where I actually inhaled quite a bit of it yesterday as well. That's what's going to happen in those situation."


Scott said he believes some of the thousands of migrants who are now massed in Tijuana do want to claim asylum in the U.S. on economic grounds.

"However, what I saw on the border yesterday was not people walking up to border agents and asking to claim asylum. Matter of fact, one of the groups that I watched....they passed 10 or 15 marked border patrol units walking...west to east, or numerous uniformed personnel as they were chanting, waving a Honduran flag and throwing rocks at the agents. If they were truly asylum seekers, they would have just walked up with their hands up and surrendered, and that did not take place."

The border-crashers ripped a hole in an old border fence made out of scrap metal, Scott said.


"The group breached a couple of sections of that, actually tore down one small section. They started to rush across that's another time they started to assault our agents, and we were able to hold them back using riot-type techniques. There were ultimately 42 arrests of individuals and, again, as I've mentioned, the vast majority of those were adult male."

Scott said his sector had enough manpower to "effectively control" the attempted border breach on Sunday, and the fact that "no one made it past our defenses" this time means his sector was "adequately staffed, but it was not without a cost," he added.

No U.S. military personnel were directly involved in Sunday's fracas, but Scott said the military did fly in backup CBP agents and provide surveillance.

Carla Provost, the head of the U.S. Border Patrol, told "Fox & Friends" on Monday that some 6,000 caravan members are now massed in Tijuana, and another 2,000 have made it as far as Mexicali. "There are more on their way," she said.

The section of fence that was breached on Sunday is 25 years old, she said. "And it is certainly out of date, it does not meet our requirement for what we need with a wall."

She said CBP is doing temporary reinforcement in that area, but the fence should be replaced with a wall.

In a tweet on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote: "Today @CBP personnel were struck by projectiles thrown by caravan members. Such actions are dangerous & not consistent w peacefully seeking asylum. The perpetrators will be prosecuted. I will continue to aggressively support DHS personnel as they work to safely secure our border."

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