Donald Trump isn't the only one, Obama administration too used tear gas at border multiple times, CBP data shows

The CBP, in a statement to Newsweek, said that its personnel have been using tear gas, or 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), since 2010.


                            Donald Trump isn't the only one, Obama administration too used tear gas at border multiple times, CBP data shows

As criticism over Trump administration's use of tear gas against Central American asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border widens, latest data from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has revealed that the practice of using tear gas and pepper spray at the border is not entirely uncommon and was prevalent even during Barack Obama's presidency.

The CBP, in a statement to Newsweek, said that its personnel have been using tear gas, or 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), since 2010. The agency also added that, in total, they have used the substance at least 126 times since the fiscal year 2012.

The federal agency, however, also revealed that although the practice of using tear gas is not new, the use of the substance has hit a seven-year record high under President Donald Trump's administration. The data stated that CBP has deployed the substance a total of 29 times in fiscal year 2018, ending September 30.

People climb a section of border fence to look toward supporters in the U.S. as members of a caravan of Central American asylum seekers arrive to a rally on April 29, 2018 in Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico. 
People climb a section of border fence to look toward supporters in the U.S. as members of a caravan of Central American asylum seekers arrive to a rally on April 29, 2018 in Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico. 

The data also reflected that the substance deployed nearly matched the number of times it was deployed in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, under former President Barack Obama administration. The agency, however, lessened its usage of the gas in the following years, using it 15 times in fiscal year 2014, eight times in fiscal year 2015 and three times in fiscal year 2016.

However, as Trump took office after the 2016 presidential elections win, the numbers began to rise dramatically, reaching 18 deployments of tear gas, before reaching fiscal year 2018's record high of 29 uses. 

CBP, in its statement, also added that along with using tear gas, the federal agency also uses Pava Capsaicin, or pepper spray "regularly."

Reports state that in terms of pepper spray use, the deployments hiked under the Obama administration with the agency using the substance 95 times in fiscal year 2012. The number climbed to 151 in 2013, before dropping to 109 in fiscal year 2014. 

People climb a section of border fence to look into the U.S. as members of a caravan of Central American asylum seekers arrive to a rally on April 29, 2018 in Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico. 
People climb a section of border fence to look into the U.S. as members of a caravan of Central American asylum seekers arrive to a rally on April 29, 2018 in Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico. 

CBS spokesperson Stephanie Malin, in a statement, said that over 1,000 individuals who were part of the "so-called caravan" "attempted to cross illegally into the U.S. by breaching section of the fence and using vehicle lanes in and near the San Ysidro Port of Entry" on Sunday, according to Newsweek.

"The group ignored law enforcement agencies in Mexico and assaulted US Federal Officers and Agents assigned to respond to the situation in San Diego," Malin said, adding that the agency "takes Sunday's employment of use-of-force very seriously,"  and "reviews and evaluates all uses of force incidents to ensure compliance with policy."