No charges filed in car­a­van clash

Au­thor­i­ties say none of the 42 peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with t he up­roar will not be ar­rested

The Progress-Index - - CLASSIFIED -

SAN DIEGO — No crim­i­nal charges will be filed against any of the 42 peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with a car­a­van of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants who were ar­rested in a clash that ended with U.S. au­thor­i­ties fir­ing tear gas into Mex­ico to counter rock throw­ers, The As­so­ci­ated Press has learned.

The de­ci­sion not to pros­e­cute came de­spite Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s vow that the U.S. will not tol­er­ate law­less­ness and af­ter ex­ten­sive prepa­ra­tions were made for the car­a­van, in­clud­ing de­ploy­ment of thou­sands of ac­tive-duty troops to the bor­der.

Charges were not filed be­cause the ad­min­is­tra­tion gen­er­ally doesn’t sep­a­rate fam­i­lies and be­cause Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion didn’t col­lect enough ev­i­dence needed to build cases, in­clud­ing the names of ar­rest­ing of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion ac­knowl­edged that no charges were filed but de­clined to say why.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have por­trayed the car­a­van as a law­less, vi­o­lent mob, say­ing there are some 600 peo­ple in the group who have a crim­i­nal his­tory. Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Kirst­jen Nielsen said in a tweet af­ter the Sun­day clash that the ac­tions by the mi­grants were “dan­ger­ous and not con­sis­tent with peace­fully seek­ing asy­lum.”

“The per­pe­tra­tors will be pros­e­cuted,” she said then.

Sun­day’s in­ci­dent oc­curred at the bor­der in Ti­juana, where thou­sands of car­a­van mem­bers have been ar­riv­ing in re­cent weeks af­ter flee­ing poverty and vi­o­lence in Cen­tral Amer­ica.

Many plan to seek asy­lum in the U.S. but may have to wait months be­cause the U.S. gov­ern­ment only pro­cesses about 100 of those cases a day at the San Ysidro bor­der cross­ing in San Diego.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple marched to­ward the San Ysidro cross­ing where they were stopped by Mex­i­can po­lice. They fanned out on both sides of the cross­ing and many slipped through an open­ing in the bor­der fence or tried to climb over.

U.S. au­thor­i­ties say as­sailants threw a “hail of rocks” at agents, strik­ing four who es­caped se­ri­ous in­jury. That prompted Bor­der Pa­trol agents to launch tear gas and pep­per spray balls to quell the un­rest.

Rod­ney Scott, chief of the Bor­der Pa­trol’s San Diego sec­tor, has said those ar­rested Sun­day for il­le­gal en­try in­cluded 27 men, with the other 15 be­ing women and chil­dren.

Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, the Bor­der Pa­trol’s par­ent agency, re­ferred only two cases to the Jus­tice De­part­ment for prose­cu­tion and charges were not filed be­cause the ac­cused had med­i­cal prob­lems that pre­vented them from be­ing held in San Diego’s de­ten­tion cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. of­fi­cial.

Many oth­ers were not re­ferred to the Jus­tice De­part­ment be­cause they were chil­dren or par­ents ac­com­pa­ny­ing chil­dren, the of­fi­cial said. In June, Trump re­treated on the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “zero-tol­er­ance” pol­icy on pros­e­cut­ing il­le­gal en­tries by gen­er­ally ex­empt­ing peo­ple who en­ter the coun­try in fam­i­lies.

The other adults were not pros­e­cuted be­cause Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion didn’t have enough in­for­ma­tion to pur­sue charges, in­clud­ing the name of the ar­rest­ing of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, who said it was a chaotic scene.

U.S. au­thor­i­ties are work­ing on a new sys­tem to bet­ter record ev­i­dence if sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances arise in the fu­ture, the of­fi­cial said.

The fate of the 42 im­mi­grants re­mains un­clear but Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion said they will face de­por­ta­tion.

“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 spokesman Ralph DeSio.

Lau­ren Mack, a spokes­woman for Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment, said the agency could not pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of the 42 ar­rested with­out names be­cause it doesn’t track peo­ple af­fil­i­ated with the car­a­van.

Cen­tral Amer­i­cans are typ­i­cally turned over to ICE, which flies them back home. Asy­lum seek­ers are of­ten re­leased in the U.S. pend­ing the out­come of their cases in im­mi­gra­tion court.

[AP PHOTO/RA­MON ESPINOSA]

A Hon­duran mi­grant lies on the river­bank as Mex­i­can po­lice move away from tear gas fired by U.S. agents at the Mex­ico-U.S. bor­der in Ti­juana, Mex­ico, Sun­day, Nov. 25, 2018, as a group of mi­grants try to pres­sure their way into the U.S. The mayor of Ti­juana has de­clared a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in his bor­der city and says that he has asked the United Na­tions for aid to deal with the ap­prox­i­mately 5,000 Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants who have ar­rived in the city.

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