Rodney Scott is the Chief Border Patrol Agent for the San Diego sector where all of the action took place yesterday. Scott appeared on CNN to discuss it this morning and the exchange was interesting mostly for the contrast it presented between what CNN was reporting and what Scott said was actually happening.
It started when CNN’s John Berman introduced the story this way: “U.S. border patrol agents deployed tear-gas on Central Americans seeking asylum, this does include women and children, during an incident near one of the world’s busiest border crossings.” CNN went on to frame the incident as a “peaceful march” that “devolved into chaos.” The network seemed to be attributing that description to Mexican authorities. I’m not sure if Mexico described the situation that way but I know that the NY Times did. Here’s the opening of their story yesterday:
TIJUANA, Mexico — A peaceful march by Central American migrants waiting at the southwestern United States border veered out of control on Sunday afternoon, as hundreds of people tried to evade a Mexican police blockade and run toward a giant border crossing that leads into San Diego.
I don’t think our media is really this dumb. Rather, I think they’re being intentionally dishonest. The intent of this group was always to do exactly what it did, i.e. rush the border in numbers in hopes of overwhelming authorities. As Jazz pointed out earlier, that’s exactly what they did when they reached the southern border of Mexico. And in that case, it worked. Last week, DHS Secretary Nielsen warned that members of the migrant caravan were planning something just like this. The border was even shut down for several hours to prepare for it. Everyone except the media seems to have seen this coming.
Agent Scott immediately took issue with CNN’s framing of the incident. “I kind of challenge that this was a peaceful protest or that the majority of these people were claiming asylum,” Scott said. He continued, “We ended up making about 42 arrests only 8 of those were females and there were only a few children involved. The vast majority of the people we’re dealing with are adult males.”
A bit later, CNN’s Berman tried again to argue that the caravan was made up of asylum seekers. “At the outset of this interview, you took issue with the idea that these were people seeking asylum. The caravan though, the 5,000 to 9,000 depending on which count you believe that is in Tijuana right now, those are people coming to the border, as far as you know, for asylum, isn’t it?” Berman said. This is the story the media has been selling us for weeks, i.e. that all of these people breaking through borders south of us are coming here to claim asylum.
“I do not believe that is true,” Scott replied. He continued, “I believe there are definitely people in that group that are going to try to claim asylum. The vast majority of those from what we call the northern triangle are economic migrants though, they do not meet the qualifications to get asylum here.”
“What I saw on the border yesterday was not people walking up to border patrol agents and asking to claim asylum. Matter of fact, one of the groups that I watched…they passed 10 or 15 marker border patrol units walking west to east, numerous uniformed personnel as they were chanting, waving a Honduran flag and throwing rocks at the agents. If they were truly asylum seekers, they would have just walked up with their hands up and surrendered and that did not take place.”
Having failed to make the case that these were asylum seekers, CNN’s Berman then asked if the presence of women and children should prevent the use of tear-gas by U.S. agents. Agent Scott replied, “What we saw over and over yesterday was that the group, the caravan as we call them, would push women and children toward the front and then begin, basically, rocking our agents.”
Here’s some video of people who are clearly not trying to seek asylum as they tear down border fences to get across:
Finally, can we just pause to once again point out how absolutely wrong Jim Acosta was about the caravan? Remember one of Acosta’s main points in his showdown with Trump was that images of people climbing a border barrier used in a TV ad were unfair. Trump said the images were real and Acosta argued the caravan was hundreds of miles away. Here we are a couple weeks later and now we have video of the caravan storming the border and tearing down fences. It’s almost like all of this was entirely predictable to anyone who wasn’t doing PR for the caravan.
Here’s the interview with Agent Scott. Allahpundit-style-exit question: Who is the guy wearing the Che Guevara shirt in the image shown by CNN?