SAN YSIDRO, CA. – The crowd that rushed Border Patrol agents earlier this week after illegally crossing into the United States along the Tijuana River channel was a planned act of disobedience, sources within Border Patrol told Fox 5 Tuesday.
“The tension went way up,” said Border Patrol Agent Gabe Pacheco, speaking on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council about the handful of agents at the scene who called for back up against the large crowd said to have been well over 100 people.
“They were saying, ‘You can’t do anything to us. We own this,” Pacheco said.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said the crowd also threw rocks at Border Patrol agents, who responded by firing pepper rounds and with other non-lethal force.
“We deployed non-lethal munitions, and we finally got the crowd to disperse,” Pacheco said.
The incident comes just weeks after CBP rejected a recommendation by a federal committee to end the use of lethal force against rock throwers.
“I commend the Border Patrol agents. They really showed a tremendous amount of restraint,” said Pacheco.
The crowd eventually went back to the Mexican side.
“It could’ve escalated,” said immigration activist Enrique Morones, who also praised agents for not having used deadly force. He said the crowd was made up of people who have been deported in the past and are living homeless in or near the channel.
“They’re frustrated. They’re desperate. They want to go back to their families [in the U.S.],” said Morones.
The tactic of large crowds rushing the border used to be more common during the early 1990’s.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again, but it might,” said Pacheco. He said that frustration over Congress’ inability to pass immigration reform could lead to more attempted crossings of large crowds, a tactic that could put lives at risk.
Source Fox 5 San Diego
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