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Immigration

42 Migrants Arrested in Border Clash Will Avoid Criminal Charges

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, Calif., November 29, 2018. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Updated November 30, 12:50pm:

No criminal charges will be filed against the 42 migrants who were arrested after they clashed with Border Patrol agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, Calif. on Sunday.

The only two individuals Customs and Border Protection referred for prosecution ended up not being charged because they had medical problems and could not be held at the San Diego detention center, according to reports.

Others were not charged because they came in family units with children. Still others escaped prosecution because in the chaos surrounding Sunday’s incident, authorities missed pieces of information necessary to file charges, such as the names of the officers who made arrests.

“On Sunday, about a thousand members of a violent mob near San Ysidro, California attacked Border Patrol agents, destroyed government equipment and attempted to enter the country illegally,” DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a statement to National Review. “In an effort to deescalate an increasingly chaotic event and respond to threats against their lives, Border Patrol agents relied on their training and employed widely recognized law enforcement techniques to diffuse an increasingly dangerous situation.”

“Resource constraints, statutory roadblocks and process limitations often result in DHS choosing to remove those who entered illegally instead of prosecuting them and then removing.”

The DHS and DOJ plan to make sure future caravan members involved in “violent clashes” with border agents are “prosecuted fully for all federal crimes they commit,” Waldman said.

“Depending on their country of citizenship and their case’s final disposition, the Border Patrol may turn those people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” said Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ralph DeSio.

The Trump administration was heavily criticized for the Border Patrol’s response to the incident after photos showed women and small children running from clouds of tear gas. The migrants were part of a caravan of about 7,000 people that arrived in Tijuana two weeks ago. About 1,000 tried to rush the border and illegally cross into the U.S., Border Patrol chief Carla Provost said.

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