US shuts border post as migrants try to cross from Mexico

27 November, 2018, 05:26 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • A Honduran migrant converses with U.S border agents on the other side of razor wire after they fired tear gas at migrants pressuring to cross into the US from Tijuana Mexico Sunday Nov. 25 2018. The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis

US border officials on Sunday temporarily closed the San Ysidro port of entry between Tijuana and San Diego, one of the busiest border crossings in the world, "to ensure public safety" after agents shot several rounds of tear gas at migrants, leaving children screaming and coughing, the Associated Press reported.

Our chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay and his team have been on the front line of the migrants' struggle to make it across.

Mexican authorities said 39 migrants were arrested yesterday, and said they plan to deport those who tried to enter the USA illegally. Several thousand migrants, mostly from Central America, have been gathering in Tijuana in hopes of entering the US.

Authorities on the US side used tear gas to disperse the would-be crossers, the journalists told CNN.

Mexico inaugurates a new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, next Saturday, and top Cabinet officials in his incoming government had planned to meet on Sunday to discuss possible solutions for dealing with the population, including potentially allowing migrants applying for asylum in the United States to stay in Mexico while they are being processed. Following the incident, the Mexican Interior Ministry said it will deport hundreds of migrants who attempted to "violently" cross the border.

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The Tijuana government said officers arrested 39 people.

Customs and Border Protection tweeted about the alleged use of tear gas.

The San Ysidro crossing is a large complex with multiple lanes of vehicle and pedestrian access points.

They erected metal barriers on the roads and sidewalks leading to the main border crossing for cars and trucks.

President Trump threatened Monday to close the southern border "permanently" unless Mexico sends asylum-seekers - many of whom he described as "stone cold criminals" - back to where they came from.

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On Monday morning President Trump tweeted that numerous migrants are "stone cold criminals", and threatened to close the border permanently.

Earlier Sunday, the group of several hundred migrants pushed past a blockade of Mexican police who were standing guard near the global border crossing.

"As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons", Nielsen said.

"We are going to act and proceed to their deportation", he told the Milenio television network, adding: "Far from helping the caravan, they are hurting it".

Trump administration officials have characterized the vast majority of asylum claims as fraudulent or legally insufficient, and have taken steps to reduce the backlog of asylum claims that they say are often used by migrants to gain entry into the US and disappear into the country as their claims are adjudicated.

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Mexico's Interior Ministry said Sunday the country has sent 11,000 Central Americans back to their countries of origin since October 19, when the first caravan entered the country.

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