Despite the US and Mexico's attempts to sort out the problem of handling the 5,000-large migrant caravan knocking on the US' southern border, some of the migrants were impatient tried their luck at storming the fence. Their attempt repelled with tear gas as they tried to attack US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel, who thwarted their attempt at breaking through.
Now American border guards are facing public backlash over their actions, but some voices have been ready to defend the CBP agents' actions. Namely, Ronald Colburn, founder of the Border Patrol Foundation, noted during an interview with Fox News that in fact they had used "OC pepper spray," which mostly consists of "water, pepper, with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes." Colburn argued that all the components are natural and thus posed little threat to the migrants' health.
"You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it! So it's a good way of deterring people without long-term harm," he said.
Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also stood up to defend the CBP agents, noting that they were forced to respond, as a large number of migrants sought to enter the US illegally. She also said that the migrants had tried to harm border guard personnel performing their duty.
"They attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them," she wrote on Twitter.
Nielsen added that her department would not tolerate that "type of lawlessness" and vowed to prosecute those responsible for destroying federal property and endangering "frontline operators."
The US was earlier forced to shut its biggest checkpoint with Mexico at San Ysidro on 25 November, 2018 following an attempt at crossing the US border illegally, undertaken by a number of migrants from the so-called migrant caravan. The checkpoint was reopened later the same day. Mexico slammed the migrants' actions and has promised to arrest and deport those responsible.
Earlier reports suggested that Mexico had agreed to Trump's proposal to keep migrants on its territory until their applications for US asylum have been approved. Mexico's incoming Interior Minister Sanchez Cordero denied the reports.