The Amount of Tear Gas Obama Used at the Border Is Staggering


In case you hadn’t heard, we don’t have the ability to enforce the law at our own border.

That’s my takeaway from the tenor of the headlines from Sunday’s incident where tear gas was fired by Border Patrol agents to deter caravan members who tried to breach the border near Tijuana, Mexico.

The Associated Press: “Trump backs use of ‘very safe’ tear gas on crowd of migrants”

The Washington Post: “Trump says U.S. agents ‘had to use’ tear gas against migrants at border”

Huffington Post: “Celebrities Torch ‘Heartless S**twad’ Donald Trump Over Border Tear-Gassing Of Kids”

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What can we glean from these headlines, other than an object lesson in progressively diminishing returns? Well, they all seem to agree on one thing: Donald J. Trump isn’t just wholly responsible for this whole thing, this is all particular to his administration.

From this angle, it wasn’t just like Trump was down there on the border in Tijuana, chucking tear gas canisters over the wall with unrestrained glee. It’s that he would be the only president who would countenance this sort of thing.

If only they’d have been paying attention during the Obama administration.

“The same tear-gas agent that the Trump administration is taking heat for deploying against a border mob this weekend is actually used fairly frequently — including more than once a month during the later years of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to Homeland Security data,” the Washington Times reported Monday.

Do you think tear gas should have been used on those who tried to rush the border?

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection has used 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, or CS, since 2010, and deployed it 26 times in fiscal 2012 and 27 times in 2013. The use dropped after that, but was still deployed three times in 2016, Mr. Obama’s final full year in office.

“Use of CS rose again in fiscal 2017, which was split between Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump, and reached 29 deployments in fiscal 2018, which ended two months ago, according to CBP data seen by The Washington Times.”

Well, that’s awkward, especially when you hear some of the quotes from the left regarding the border incursion and subsequent deployment of gas.

“It’s horrifying to see tear gas used on mothers and young children as they seek refuge in the United States. That’s not what America should be,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s Democrat stalwart in the upper chamber, said, according to The Washington Times.

In a now-deleted tweet, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii — I’ll give you two seconds to guess what party he belongs to — wondered if the use of the tear gas was “consistent with the Convention on Chemical Weapons,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

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I haven’t perused Sen. Schatz’s Twitter account, but I’m sure he raised the same question during the Obama years.

Or perhaps not:

Yes, when they’ve got their country back and they can be the ones deploying tear gas at the border — against crowds that push women and children to the front.

None of this reaction resembles morality or sanity, of course, because what the Trump adminsitration did is exactly what the Obama administration did. This is exactly what any administration would have done when the border is being illegally breached by individuals who may or may not be willing to use children as pawns.

Oh, and by the way, the Obama administration actually wrote the policy that involved the use of tear gas in situations like this.

“This policy that we use was an Obama-written policy and it was used in 2013 at the same port of entry,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said in an interview with CNN.

“The facts are, the policy written under President Obama allows us to use tear gas to disperse a crowd that was very dangerous.”

Judd also pointed out that the children were being used as human shields by the same migrants that the media is busy running damage control for.

So, no, it’s not just Trump. In fact, he was just following the blueprint laid out by his predecessor, who used a mind-boggling amount of tear gas at the border.

The great irony, of course, is that the acolytes of Trump’s predecessor seem to be the ones determined to make the most noise about this.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture