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Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

Images of migrant families choking on and fleeing tear gas launched by U.S. border officials at the southern border garnered outrage from some top officials and pundits and defense from others.

Why it matters: The action, reportedly in response to migrants throwing rocks, is not the first time that border agents have used tear gas or pepper spray at the border. But, coupled with the Trump administration's latest order allowing military troops to use force to defend border agents, it highlights the growing threat of violence as Central American caravans reach the border only to be met with closed crossings and long lines.

What they're saying:
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on CBS that, when it comes to immigration, President Trump is "on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of decency."
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii): "Anyone uncomfortable with spraying tear gas on children is welcome to join the coalition of the moral and the sane. We can argue about other stuff when we’ve got our country back."
  • Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.): "Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime. It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America."
  • Angelica Salas, executive director of The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, said in a statement: "It is a despicable act on the part of the Trump administration and CBP officials to attack defenseless women and children firing tear gas, a chemical agent, at them."

But not everyone was outraged by the use of tear gas:

  • DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: ".@DHSgov will not tolerate this type of lawlessness & will not hesitate to shut down POEs for security reasons. We'll seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our sovereignty."
  • Rodney Scott, chief patrol agent of the San Diego border control, defended the use of tear gas on CNN, saying "If they were truly asylum seekers, they would have just walked up and surrendered and that did not take place."
  • Tomi Lahren, a conservative pundit for Fox Nation, tweeted: "Bum-rushing the border is a CHOICE and has consequences. Watching the USA FINALLY defend our borders was the HIGHLIGHT of my Thanksgiving weekend."
Images of the incident:
Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images
Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images
Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 11 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 13 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.