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'Pure horror': Celebs condemn use of tear gas at the U.S.-Mexico border

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Tensions at the U.S.-Mexico border intensified on Sunday when the United States Customs and Border Protection agency shut down the San Diego border crossing and fired tear gas at migrants. As images of mothers and young children running from the painful gas spread on social media, celebrities and activists were quick to condemn the government’s response as “unconscionable.”

“What have we become?” actress and activist Alyssa Milano asked on Twitter.

Many celebrities have been vocal about their opposition to President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, and the incident on Sunday stoked their outrage. Actor John Cusack called for Trump to be impeached, comedian Kathy Griffin suggested he be sent to prison and Busy Philipps tweeted that Americans were simply lucky enough to be born in a country refugees and asylum-seekers so desperately want to reach.

For weeks, Trump has made repeated comments about preventing a migrant caravan headed toward the United States from entering the country, threatening to close the border completely. On Sunday, migrants seeking to cross the border from Tijuana, Mexico, into San Diego were blocked by Mexican police officers, the New York Times reports. When some of the migrants tried to go around them, Customs and Border Protection officers fired tear gas at two locations, and Mexican officers pushed the migrants away from the border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted on Sunday that Customs and Border Protection officers were “struck by projectiles thrown by caravan members,” behavior she deemed “not consistent [with] peacefully seeking asylum.”

On Monday, Trump again threatened to close the entire southern border and urged Mexico to send the migrants, whom he described as “stone cold criminals,” back to their home countries.

Trump’s plans to change federal immigration law have already hit some snags. For one, a federal judge temporarily blocked Trump’s proposal to deny asylum to anyone crossing the southern border between ports of entry last week, as CNN reports.

Someone can only apply for asylum at a U.S. port of entry or once they’re already in the U.S. — it’s impossible to apply for asylum from outside the U.S. So Trump’s attempts to keep migrants from reaching ports of entry and crossing the border would effectively make it impossible for those fleeing dangerous situations in Central America to apply for legal status in the U.S.

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