US shuts border post as migrants try to cross from Mexico

27 November, 2018, 05:24 | Author: Bert Pena

"It is critical that we demonstrate the mass sentiment in support for migrants and refugees, and demand the recognition of their legal right to seek asylum", they say. At that point, numerous marchers bypassed police by running across a dry riverbed. Around 2,000 migrants have agreed to return to their countries of origin with the help of the Mexican authorities.

After the gas had cleared, Mexican federal police officers then pushed back the protesters from the area of the train crossing.

At least 500 migrants, including women and children, had been taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Tijuana before dashing toward the border in an attempt to clamber over a first metal barrier there.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopters flew overhead, while U.S. agents held vigil on foot beyond the wire fence in California. A few men tried to climb the wall but fell back in the face of the gas.

"Border Patrol agents deployed tear gas to dispel the group because of the risk to agents' safety", the agency said on Twitter.

Video footage and photos of the incident shows migrants, including small children, running away from the border as tear gas fills the air behind them.

Trump's tweet followed a vow from Mexico to deport migrants who tried to illegally enter the U.S. The Trump administration has said asylum claims from members of a series of caravans originating in Central America must be processed outside the U.S., and that all those entering illegally will be denied.

The dramatic shutdown took place only three days after Trump threatened to close the "whole border" with Mexico if "it gets to a level where we're going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt".

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, took to Twitter to accuse critics of having to "really hate President Donald Trump to not understand the problems created by the caravans". The focus of the meeting immediately shifted to the day's crisis, and the political implications it might have for the treatment of migrants and the anti-migrant sentiment it might incite in Mexico.

Irineo Mujica, who has accompanied the migrants for weeks as part of the aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said the aim of Sunday's march toward the USA border was to make the migrants' plight more visible to the governments of Mexico and the U.S. Many have become increasingly desperate with the realization of the obstacles still before them in reaching the United States.

"We can't have all these people here", Mujica said. "We thought it would be easier".

"Now, I guess I'll just wait my turn, because I can't go back to my country", she said.

Mexico's interior ministry has said it plans to deport everyone caught trying to "violently" and "illegally" cross into the USA on Sunday out of the country, while the office of Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said that at least 39 members of the caravan had been arrested over causing riots, disrupting public order and assaulting citizens, "among other causes". "That's our goal, and we've been asking God to bring us there".

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