Fact Check Finds Obama Administration Used Tear Gas on Migrants Nearly Every Month

While President Donald Trump has come under fire for border agents firing tear gas at migrants at the United States-Mexico border, the fact-checking site Snopes found that border agents under the Obama administration used tear gas 1.3 times per month in Obama’s last five years.

According to Snopes, Customs and Border Protection Agents used tear gas more than once a month on average between 2012 and 2016. There are no stats for the first three years of his presidency.

The Trump administration came under fire after women and children were seen fleeing from tear gas at the border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters that migrants were attempting to rush the border and said some threw “rocks and other projectiles.”

The conservative news outlet Washington Times responded to the story by noting that “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.”

Sarah Sanders echoes report:  “Let’s also not forget that this isn’t the first time that non-lethal force like this has been used,” Sanders told reporters Tuesday when asked about the tear gas. “In fact, tear gas was used on average once a month during the Obama administration for very similar circumstances. In fact, they were actually for far less [sic] circumstances, because they didn’t have the same numbers and the mass rush that we’re seeing, in this caravan, take place.”

Tear gas use has increased under Trump: While it’s true that tear gas was used on migrants under Obama, the number of incidents has increased under Trump. In the final five years of Obama’s tenure, CBP agents used tear gas about 15.8 times per year. In less than two years since Trump took office, CBP agents have already used tear gas in 47 incidents.

Fox News slams outrage: Fox News analyst Brit Hume questioned Democratic outrage against tear gas use on migrants by pointing out they were silent during the Obama years.

"It turns out this has been going on for some time," he said.. "One specific incident, Martha, was November 27th, 2013, when at that very same entrance point and at San Ysidro on the Mexican border near San Diego, a group of migrants rushed the border, and were repealed with teargas and pepper balls in the same way that the group was over this weekend. And I don’t remember it received any national attention."

"It turns out according to a report in the Washington Times, the Obama Administration regularly used teargas to repel migrants attempting to cross the border," Hume added. "As we often find out with things that Mr. Trump does, they're not so unusual or strange as people would have you believe."


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