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Mom fleeing San Ysidro border says she is shocked US tear gassed kids



Mexico border migrant tear gas
Lila Meza Castro, a 35-year-old migrant woman from Honduras, runs
away from tear gas with her five-year-old twin daughters at the
US-Mexico border on Sunday.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File photo

  • A mom who fled tear gas with her kids at the US border
    said she did not think Border Control would use the gas on
  • Maria Lila Meza Castro arrived at the border to seek
    asylum on Sunday alongside other Central American migrants, who
    were met with tear gas after some tried to rush the
  • Trump defended the use of tear gas as needed to combat
    “very tough people” despite outrage, and claimed that Border
    Patrol did not use the gas on children.
  • Tear gas by its nature is difficult to target, and can
    easily affect people it was not specifically aimed at.
  • Customs and Border Protection said the move “prevented
    a dangerous situation from getting worse” and that no one
    was hurt in the incident.

The mom who was pictured fleeing with her kids from tear gas at
the US-Mexico border says she never thought Border Patrol would
use it on children.

Maria Lila Meza Castro, a 35-year-old migrant from Honduras,
arrived at the US border on Monday with her five children on
Sunday to seek asylum. She came alongside hundreds of other
Central American migrants who formed part of a caravan
that had been traveling to the US.

They were blocked by the Mexican police and some rushed the US
border and reportedly attempted to
break through barbed wire and metal sheeting
, where Border
Patrol agents released tear gas canisters.

The first thing I did was grab my children,” Meza told
Reuters in an interview at a migrant shelter in Tijuana. “I was
scared, and I thought I was going to die with them because of the

Migrants US border tear gas
including children, fled from tear gas at the US


Around 5,200 people who traveled in the caravan are in the
shelter, in makeshift tents in a stadium, according to

Meza’s five children age from toddlers to teenagers, and
she held the hands of her five-year-old daughters Saira and
Cheili in an image that
has sparked outrage
over the US use of tear gas.

Read More: Backlash
erupts after the Trump administration fires tear gas at migrants
at the US-Mexico border

“We never thought they were going to fire these bombs where
there were children, because there were lots of children,” Meza

She told Reuters that her young son James nearly fainted
after a tear gas canister landed near him.

“It wasn’t right, they know we are human beings, the same
as them,” she said.

A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson
agents deployed “crowd dispersing devices,” which
included pepper-ball launching systems and CS gas canisters —
commonly known as tear gas — to deter the migrants.

Lila Meza Castro with two of her children at a migrant shelter in
Tijuana, Mexico.


defended using tear gas
as he said border control agents were
being “rushed by some very tough people.”

Trump denied that tear gas was used against children,
despite photo and video footage that showed children being

When asked by a reporter: “Is it OK to use tear gas on children?”
Trump responded “We didn’t. We don’t use it on children,
CNN reported.
Trump also said that a “minor form” of tear gas
was used, though he was
contradicted by the

commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
who said
“standard law enforcement issue” was used.

Read More: 

are zeroing in on Obama’s immigration history to defend Trump,
but experts say that’s a ‘tactic for distraction’

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan
said that closing the border on Sunday “prevented
a dangerous situation from getting worse” and that the
decision to use tear gas was made by agents on the scene who used
their professional judgment, according to CNN.

The incident will be reviewed in line with protocol,
McAleenan said.

69 people were apprehended entering the US, he said.

Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also defended the use
of tear gas, saying that The White House had “warned about the
danger” ahead of those who were traveling to the US.

Mexico’s government has
called for “a full investigation”
into what it described as
non-lethal weapons directed toward Mexican territory.

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