Texas NAtional Guard
Texas National Guard soldiers had been issued "thousands" of pepperball ammunition to deter potential crossers. AFP

A group of migrant families reported being fired upon with pepper balls by the Texas National Guard at the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso this week, according to Border Report.

The outlet says it was able to capture on video the moment a member of the Texas Army National Guard aimed a rifle from behind barbed wire and then fired at least one shot toward the river.

On the Mexican side of the river, Denise and Antonio, two Venezuelan asylum-seekers, shielded their one-year-old daughter from stray bullets with a piece of cardboard between two bushes.

"The shots came from the other side," Antonio told outlet. "We are afraid for our baby."

Border Report reached out to the Texas Military Department for comment but did not hear back.

Kennedy, a Venezuelan man in his 20s, said that the shots started with no reason. "They fired and nobody was crossing."

Asylum seekers are supposed to wait until they have an appointment with the Department of Homeland Security to enter the country through the CBP One app and report to border agents.

This order has been criticized by human rights organizations. The use CBP One "violates international human rights and refugee law," says a recent report by Amnesty International. The organization stated that the app forces asylum seekers to play a "lottery" game, as it only provides a maximum of 1,450 appointments per day, forcing some people to wait for months.

However, in response to an anticipated spike in illegal crossing attempts as the weather gets warmer in the Northern Hemisphere, a National Guard source had told the New York Post in April that Texas National Guard soldiers had been issued "thousands" of pepper ball ammunition to deter potential crossers.

The decision came after hundreds of migrants stormed a crossing area known as Gate 36, which is not a legal point of entry to the U.S., on March 21. Texas has since charged 214 people with rioting and another nine alleged ringleaders with heavier charges in connection with the attempted incursion, according to the outlet.

Another event of the same nature took place on April 12 at the El Paso border. According to KFOX14, the 142 migrants were given a misdemeanor Class B charge by the State of Texas for riot participation. Border Report adds that several other small-scale incidents involving the firing of pepper balls have been documented since by El Paso and Juarez news outlets.

An unidentified Venezuelan man told the outlet two pepper balls struck him in the neck and side after he crossed the Rio Grande to plead with the soldiers to let families come across the razor wire.

Francisco Servin, a photographer for El Heraldo de Juarez, said the soldiers also fired pepper balls at him on Tuesday afternoon, the outlet Norte Digital reported.

The photographer was documenting the movement of undocumented people, and had heard of the use of pepper ballas against migrants.

"When I got here people asked me to go down (to the river) because they had been attacked by U.S. authorities. I found a member of the National Guard pointing and shooting toward the Mexican side where the people were. When they see me, the officer points at me and shoots twice without striking me," he said as per the Border Report article.

Migrant encounters in El Paso, Texas, remained flat at around 30,000 in April, a contrast with the overall decrease reported at a national level.

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