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migrant caravan

DHS Secretary Nielsen claims migrant caravan used children as 'human shields' against tear gas

In a Monday night Facebook post, the Department of Homeland Security claimed it was necessary to fire tear gas at migrants who approached the southern border on Sunday.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the "violence we saw at the border was entirely predictable," referring to reports that Central American migrants who reached the San Ysidro port of entry to apply for asylum in the U.S. had thrown rocks at law enforcement after becoming frustrated that they were not able to plead their cases. "Officers can be seriously or fatally injured in such attacks," said Nielsen, though no officials were injured during the incident. Border Patrol fired tear gas into Mexico "to dispel the group" and closed the port.

"It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as 'human shields' when they confront law enforcement," claimed Nielsen. Images of children affected by tear gas provoked outrage, especially among Democrats who said the Trump administration's handling of the migrant caravan had gone too far.

President Trump also defended the gassing, telling reporters that Border Patrol agents "had to" use tear gas "because they were being rushed by some very tough people." He also said agents had only used a "very minor form" of tear gas, calling it "very safe" and claiming the children affected were only there because "grabbers" were pretending to be their parents to attain a "certain status."

Migrants were denied entry and remain in Mexico. Nielsen concluded her statement by saying the administration is continuing "to prepare for the next assault."