Assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents have increased 300 percent over last year at the San Diego border crossing, according to figures released by San Diego Border Sector Chief Rodney Scott.
When did this start?
Violence against agents began rising when the migrant caravan first arrived in Tijuana in late November, KGTV-TV reported.
One of the latest incidents happened on New Year's Eve, when a migrant threw a rock and hit a border agent in the face.
"These incursions are organized they are bringing people down there for the express purpose of provoking a confrontation," Border Patrol agent Joshua Wilson told the news outlet. He also said the incidents offer enough proof for why a border wall is needed.
"Having that barrier helps prevent many assaults on agents and that's something the public really needs to understand," Wilson added. "It's not just a border security measure it's a measure for agents safety as well."
Enrique Morones, founder of the pro-migrant group Border Angels, told KGTV that his organization condemns the violence. He also placed the blame on border patrol guards.
"If you're going to be going across the border to seek asylum, why in the world would you be throwing rocks at the border patrol?" Morones said. "The people… have been reacting to the Border Patrol violence of tear gassing and shooting rubber bullets at migrants."
Border Patrol told the TV station that it does not release actual numbers of border incidents, just a percentages of the increase or decline.
What is at stake?
The government is partly shutdown because President Donald Trump and House Democrats cannot agree on funding for border security. Trump wants a $5 billion wall, while Democrats are advocating for drones and other tech for border security.
Multiple published reports have indicated that migrants are arriving at the border in poor health and some are carrying multiple infectious diseases. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has warned there are as many as 500 criminals in the caravan.
Adding to the issue is a federal court that ruled it is unconstitutional to deny refugee hearings for asylum.