Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Border Fracas

TIJUANA, Mexico — A peaceful march by Central American migrants waiting at the southwestern United States border veered out of control on Sunday afternoon, as hundreds of people tried to evade a Mexican police blockade and run toward a giant border crossing that leads into San Diego. 

In response, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency shut down the border crossing in both directions and fired tear gas to push back migrants from the border fence. The border was reopened later Sunday evening. The episode comes at a time of growing tension on both sides of the border and promised to become the newest flash point in the story of a caravan that was the target of President Trump’s anti-immigrant rallying cry during the midterm elections. LINK

I don't have much to say about this that I haven't said before. It's important to understand that there are few if any sovereign nations that will routinely let masses of people enter without permission. The US isn't one of them, strictly speaking. If you zerg rush a border there are basically three choices that the authorities have. (1) The authorities can back down and let you in. (2) The authorities can use non-lethal force to prevent your entry. (3) The authorities can use lethal force to prevent your entry. If the authorities make the first choice they will invite more people to do the same thing.

A border is force made visible. It tells everyone else that this section of the planet is ours. You can't enter or stay without our permission. Consent is everything here. It's the difference between extending an invitation to someone to visit my home and someone entering my home without my permission. It's the same action in each instance but I will have utterly different reactions. Consent matters.


As has already been pointed out this recent incident was not the first or only time that Border agents used tear gas to disperse would be entrants


As the Trump administration continues to face widespread backlash over its use of tear gas against Central American asylum seekers at the southern border on Sunday, data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has shone a light on just how common the use of tear gas and pepper spray at the border really is. In a statement sent to Newsweek on Tuesday, the CBP said its personnel have been using tear gas, or 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), since 2010, deploying the substance a total of 126 times since fiscal year 2012. 


Under President Donald Trump, CBP's use of the substance has hit a seven-year record high, with the agency deploying the substance a total of 29 times in fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, 2018, according to the agency's data. 

However, the data also showed that the substance was deployed nearly the same number of times in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 under former President Barack Obama, with CBP using the substance 26 times in fiscal year 2012 and 27 times in fiscal year 2013. 

CBP also noted in its statement that in addition to using tear gas, the agency also "regularly uses" Pava Capsaicin, or pepper spray. In terms of pepper spray use, deployments appeared to soar under the Obama administration, with CBP personnel using the substance 95 times in fiscal year 2012, a number that climbed to 151 in 2013, before dropping to 109 in fiscal year 2014.

Arguing that this is an atrocity as many people did? Well I don't know how to respond to that. I do recall that when the previous President ordered drone strikes in various countries that it was like pulling teeth to get his supporters to criticize his actions. Most refused at the time. Most still won't today. Immigration continues to be one of the flashpoint issues that has the potential to tear this nation apart. 

The California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, is upset that tear gas was used; he is looking for some way for California to stop the United States Federal Government from using tear gas or presumably any sort of force. I said it before that it would be darkly humorous when people who screamed about Federal Supremacy when their guy was in the Big Seat suddenly discover their inner John Calhoun, states rights and nullification when someone else has the power. Just human nature I guess.
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