Mexico to up security at border after migrants try to cross

Kim Kyung-Hoon  Reuters

Hundreds of Central American migrants who tried to force through a Mexican police blockade into the United States retreated to a nearby camp Monday after U.S. border agents pushed them back with tear gas and rubber bullets. Migrants in a caravan of Central Americans scrambled to reach the US border, catching rides on buses and trucks for hundreds of miles in the last leg of their journey Wednesday as the first sizable groups began arriving in the border city of Tijuana.

Dozens of Central American immigrants were detained by American agents Monday after rushing the US-Mexico border; escalating the high-stakes showdown between the "migrant caravan" and US authorities.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers walks along a wall at the border between Mexico and the United States, as seen from San Diego on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018.

But Sunday's action affected only the San Ysidro crossing and the USA forces appeared limited to Customs and Border Protection officers and Department of Homeland Security police, backed by San Diego police and the California Highway Patrol. Mexico's Interior Department said about 500 migrants were involved in the attempt to rush the border, while USA authorities put the number at 1,000.

Mexico's Interior Ministry said it would immediately deport those who tried to "violently" enter the USA from Tijuana.

Mexico, for its part, has deployed riot police to maintain calm, as well as implemented measures to stop migrants walking near to the border area. "Any additional resources that we assign to processign asylum seekers literally slows down the economy of the United States".

She said that the government was forced to close the San Ysidro border port of entry because of the large number of migrants trying to illegally enter the United States.

After the clashes in Tijuana over the weekend, freelance reporter David Agren noted, "These difficulties in Tijuana were predictable weeks ago, but the caravan pushed onward to the border anyway-and those accompanying it discouraged migrants from accepting Mexican offers to temporary work visas or asylum".

Mexico after being hit by tear gas by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after attempting to illegally cross the border wall into the United States in Tijuana Mexico Nov.25 2018
Adrees Latif Reuters

Speaking on Fox & Friends on Monday, Ronald Colburn downplayed the use of crowd-dispersing spray, saying it was simply "pepper spray" and not tear gas.

However, reports have emerged migrants using bottles and other missiles to attack agents.

Mexican Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete said that the migrants were encouraged by some of the caravan's leaders to rush the border.

"We can't have all these people here", Mujica told The Associated Press.

On Sunday in Tijuana, hundreds of caravan members including women and children protested peacefully. As they reached a bridge and stairway that leads to a square near the US border, they were stopped by Mexican authorities, who told them to wait for permission. Then, some of the migrants start throwing rocks at the agents.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the caravans in Mexico and to make another pitch for his promised border wall.

The refugees are legally allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S., but this process has been known to take as long as a year.

Castillo said he was leaving "to avoiding getting beaten".

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