Customs and Border Patrol fired pepper balls at a group of Venezuelan migrants after one assaulted an officer with a flagpole on Monday shortly after noon near El Paso, Texas. officials said.
The Venezuelan protesters, one of them hoisting a large Venezuelan flag, attempted to illegally cross the Rio Grande international border into the United States around 12:20 p.m.
“One of the protesters assaulted an officer with a flagpole, at which point officers responded by initiating crowd control measures,” a CBP spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “These measures included the use of the authorized less lethal force pepperball launching system.”
The altercation comes after the Biden administration announced a new policy earlier this month requiring Venezuelans to be deported to Mexico if caught illegally entering the United States.
The The National Border Patrol Union tweeted that the migrants were also throwing rocks and corrected a reporter who said the officers fired rubber bullets.
“Officers were using pepper ball launchers which are designed to disperse large crowds of unruly people,” the union said.
A new parole program has also been introduced to allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the United States by air, but they must have financial support in the United States, pass biometric screening and meet requirements. of public health. It’s similar to a program the United States set up for Ukrainian migrants after the Russian invasion.
MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER ROSE TO MORE THAN 200,000 IN AUGUST, WHILE NUMBERS FROM VENEZUELA, CUBA SPIKE
Venezuelan migrants have increasingly fled to the United States in recent months amid political and economic unrest in their home country.
There were more than 25,000 encounters of Venezuelan migrants at the border in August, an increase of 4,000 in April and just 6,000 in August 2021.
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Meetings of Venezuelan migrants have declined over the past three weeks following the new policy requiring them to stay in Mexico.
“The number of Venezuelans arriving at the southern border has dropped sharply almost every day since we launched additional joint actions with Mexico to reduce irregular migration and create a more just, orderly and safe process for people fleeing the humanitarian crisis. and economic in their country,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.