Should a single photograph determine an entire country’s policies? Senator Dianne Feinstein sure seems to think so, but the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection isn’t letting her get away with that narrative.
On Tuesday, the liberal California lawmaker grilled CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and repeatedly pushed a claim that Border Patrol agents targeted children with tear gas near San Ysidro on purpose.
You’ve probably seen the famous photo: In an image that some people have questioned as “staged,” a woman and barefoot children appeared to be evading crowd control efforts, with some tear gas visible in the background.
The picture was snapped while migrants surged past checkpoints in an attempt to illegally enter the United States.
Feinstein held up the news photo as “Exhibit A” in a crusade to lecture and shame the Border Patrol, but McAleenan was having none of it.
“While we’re on the subject of tear gas being used, has CBP ever fired tear gas at young children on the border prior to November 25th?” the senator demanded.
It was a bit of a set-up question, and the Border Patrol chief immediately batted it down.
“Just to clarify, senator. We did not fire tear gas at young children on November 25th,” he responded. Then he answered the question in a way that, ironically, made Feinstein’s own liberal party look bad.
“But yes, CS gas has been used to address large groups seeking to enter unlawfully actually in San Diego sector in the same exact area almost five years to the day, a large group that did include women and children in it as well,” he continued.
McAleenan was referring to a 2013 incident in which at least 100 migrants attacked Border Patrol agents with rocks, before trying to illegally cross the border. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd, which included women and children who had been brought along to the chaotic scene.
The president at the time? Democrat Barack Obama, of course.
Still refusing to accept that CBP didn’t specifically target children in the November incident, Feinstein continued to press McAleenan.
“Well CBP’s use of force manual as I understand it does not specifically authorize tear gassing young children. Do you think CBP needs to make any changes to its use of force policies to make sure that children are not harmed going forward?” the senator demanded.
“First of all, no, of course our policy does not authorize tear gassing young children nor did that happen,” the border enforcement expert shot back.
Feinstein still didn’t let it drop. Her “smoking gun?” The famous, much-questioned photo.
“Well the picture that I have that ran on CNN shows a mother pulling a child, the second child on her other arm with a diaper, and tear gas rolling in behind them,” Feinstein scolded, “and I think that’s not a picture or an act that befits this country.”
Welcome to Democrat World: Thousands of migrants arrive at the border after clashing with officials and trying to enter illegally? Shrug. A picture is snapped of the Border Patrol doing their job by enforcing the border? That’s appalling and unbefitting the country.
“It’s very unfortunate that women and children were in the vicinity of this large group that was trying to enter the United States. I don’t know that that picture accurately tells the full story of the scope of events on that Sunday,” McAleenan said.
Then, incredibly, Feinstein acknowledged that the photo didn’t tell the whole story — yes, the same photo she was using as the basis of her rant.
“I’m sure it does not,” the liberal admitted, “but nonetheless, that’s what was photographed.”
So let’s get this straight. The media and Democrats, including Feinstein, have spent the last month holding up the well-circulated border photo as evidence of abuse. Celebrities hysterically wailed about it while liberals tried to use it to bash the president and border agents.
And all this time — as Feinstein just said — they’ve known the image was misconstrued and didn’t paint an accurate picture of what happened. Is there any wonder the public doesn’t trust politicians or the media anymore?
It gets even better. Testifying to the committee, McAleenan revealed that the entire reason non-lethal options like tear gas are sometimes used is to prevent gun violence and save lives — something that Feinstein has built half of her political career upon.
“I don’t think any law enforcement agency in the U.S. has made more progress in the training and the tactics used by our officers and agents than CBP,” the Border Patrol chief stated. “In 2012, we had 55 uses of force with a firearm.”
Who was the president then? Oh yeah, Obama.
“In 2018, we had 15 despite increasing numbers of apprehensions and assault, so we’re making tremendous progress in this area,” McAleenan said.
It’s pretty clear that nothing Customs and Border Protection does under the Trump presidency is good enough for liberals. If they used Obama-era tactics like firearms instead of tear gas, they’d be labeled as monsters.
If they use non-lethal methods, following use of force guidelines and after expert training, they’re … well, still labeled as monsters.
The only thing that would seem to placate Democrats would be abandoning the border and refusing to enforce it. It’s increasingly clear that this is their goal, and that should make every conservative American take pause about what is happening.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.