The caravan crisis came to a head on Sunday as migrants in Tijuana fell back from the border fence amid waves of tear gas fired by the United States Customs and Border Protection agency.

The clash drew sharp condemnation from several prominent Texas Democrats, including Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso.

“It should tell us something about her home country that a mother is willing to travel 2,000 miles with her 4-month old son to come here. Should tell us something about our country that we only respond to this desperate need once she is at our border,” O’Rourke posted online. “So far, in this administration, that response has included taking kids from their parents, locking them up in cages, and now tear gassing them at the border.”

The fact of the matter is that in the heat of the moment, when hundreds of people make a concentrated rush away from Mexican police blockades and toward a heavily-secured border, options to respond are limited. We’re lucky the incident didn’t turn fatal.

But that does not excuse inhumane treatment.

President Donald Trump defended the border response the following day, claiming the use of tear gas was justified and reiterating that the only path into this country is the legal one.

But considering the circumstances, considering how long the country’s been aware of the migrant caravan and how prepared border protection should’ve been, this use of force should probably have never been necessary at all.

NPR reports fewer than 100 petitions for asylum are being processed each day. That’s hardly a dent in a migrant population of more than 5,000 from Central America.

We need to do things legally and we need to do things smart, but the reality is this situation is being handled below maximum-efficiency.

The U.S. has a growing mass of desperate asylum seekers begging for mercy at its gates, and thus far, it’s demonstrated not much more than austerity and ineffectiveness. 

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of Opinion Editor Shay Cohen, Editor-in-Chief Narda Perez, News Editor Samantha Douty, Life and Entertainment Editor Maxwell Hilliard, Copy Desk Chief Caitlin Sherrill, Sports Reporter Dallas Johnson and News Reporter Jacob Reyes.

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