United States of America is a country built up by migrants. But what has happened recently was completely horrifying. Any sane person honestly can’t believe this was America shooting tear gas at children. Babies were sobbing with tears running down their faces from the gas. Agents for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency fired several canisters of gas after groups of immigrants tried to squeeze through gaps or scale fences at the border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego. U.S. officials completely shut down the port of entry in both directions for several hours. There were children screaming and coughing amid the gas. To make it worse the wind carried the aerosol chemicals toward people hundreds of feet away who were not attempting to enter the U.S. What an absolute tragedy.
The use of force was sharply criticized. However in their defence the Customs and Border Patrol agency said that officers responded with tear gas as migrants threw projectiles which hit several agents and tear gas was used to dispel the group because of the risk to agents’ safety. Activists and politicians around the world reacted with horror and shock at scenes of mothers fleeing with children. We never knew that asking to be considered a refugee and applying for asylum is a crime.
President Donald Trump in fact provoked the immigrants’ desperation by sending 5,800 troops to the border with authorization to use lethal force. It was a despicable act on the part of the Trump administration to attack defenseless women and children firing tear gas at them. This was so incredibly shameful. Shooting tear gas at asylum seekers lacks a basic level of humanity. This was inhumane. The administration can’t even pretend this is to protect borders or enforce the law. These are asylum seekers. Seeking asylum is not illegal. The confrontation came after a caravan of several hundred Central American migrants — including women pushing kids in strollers — overwhelmed Mexican cops standing guard near the San Ysidro crossing that links San Diego with Tijuana, Mexico.
Surprisingly, US Federal law states that anyone can apply for asylum regardless of immigration status. They can also apply for asylum at a designated point of entry. US immigration courts are currently overwhelmed with asylum applications, with a backlog of some 750,000 claims. Asylum applications jumped 35% between fiscal year 2016 and 2017. The vast majority of people attempting to file an asylum claim are allowed to do so once they reach the U.S., but often don’t see a judge for several years. Only 10% are ultimately granted asylum by a judge, but in the meantime many are allowed to reside in the US. But President Trump tweeted those migrants attempting to apply for asylum at the southern border will not be allowed to stay in the US and will instead have to wait in Mexico while their claims are being processed.
He tweeted: “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). No crossings!” More than 5,000 migrants who traveled in caravans through Mexico are camped out in and around a sports complex in Tijuana, with plans to apply for asylum in the US.
History will not judge this kindly. America you have lost your way.