On CNN, Border Patrol union head defends use of tear gas on migrants: Tear gas "has been deemed to be safe even for children."
Brandon Judd: "Our agents were given absolutely no choice but to take the actions that they took."
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From the November 26 edition of CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar:
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BRIANNA KEILAR (HOST): Mexico is clamping down on the migrants who rushed the U.S. border yesterday, saying that they will deport around 500 people because of the violence. Now these are images, some of them, that are hard to ignore. You see here small children running from tear gas canisters that were shot into the crowd by U.S. Border Patrol agents. And here with me now is Brandon Judd, he's the president of the National Border Patrol Council, which is the organization for 16,000 border agents. You lead that organization. Just to be clear, your organization endorsed President Trump in 2016, you support his proposal to build a border wall. When you look at these pictures, I wonder what your reaction is.
BRANDON JUDD (PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL): My first reaction is what led up to this situation? And unfortunately what happened was a monstrous act took place. They started going towards the port of entry, then they broke off and they went east and went of the ports of entry to cross the border illegally. They pushed women and children up front and from behind the women and children, they started throwing projectiles at our agents, such as rocks, bottles, and even small concrete slabs.
KEILAR: And were agents injured in that?
JUDD: There were a couple agents that were hit. And once that happened, we then had to take into account the safety of everybody involved, not just the agents, but those people that are also south of the wall. It was determined to deploy tear gas to break up the crowd which is exactly what happened. We did not use any kinetic force. It was tear gas, which has been deemed to be safe even for children. We never want to see a child get hurt.
KEILAR: But, I just wonder -- I hear what you're saying, but looking at the images, they're awful. They do not at all serve the policies that you support. In fact, it would convince some people against your policies. So knowing that, is there an alternative to this that could have been taken by border patrol?
JUDD: I think that you're looking at only certain images. There's many images that are out there. But the vast majority of those individuals were not women and children. They were male adults between the ages of 20 to the mid 30s that were causing all of this strife. Again, if these individuals were going to the port of entry and presenting themselves at the port of entry legally, none of this ever would have happened. They chose. They made a conscious decision to break off and go between the ports of entry which is an illegal act. And then not only did they just choose to do that, but then they started being assaultive combatant towards our agents. Our agents were given absolutely no choice but to take the actions that they took.