Some migrants who attempted to cross the border illegally from Tijuana into the United States were dispersed by tear gas launched by US authorities, journalists at the scene said.
Yesterday, we covered a report in the Washington Post about a reported agreement reached between the incoming government of Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the Trump administration to have Mexico keep asylum-seekers on their side of the border until their cases are processed by USA immigration officials.
A group of Central American migrants, mostly Hondurans, climb a metal barrier.
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". It said that 1,906 of those who have returned were members of the recent caravans.
An estimated 8,200 migrants from the so-called caravans heading to the USA from Central America are now in Mexico, authorities say.
Some of the migrants are believed to have been participating in the protest on the Mexican side.
On Twitter, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, wrote that the "tear gas across the border against unarmed families is a new low".
After running to relative safety a few hundred feet away, hundreds of the caravan members held a sit-in.
He could not see from his position if the migrants had managed to get across the actual border. We will close the Border permanently if need be. But Sunday's action affected only the San Ysidro crossing, the busiest port of entry between the United States and Mexico.
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Many hope to apply for asylum in the US, but agents at the San Ysidro entry point are processing fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day.
In response, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency shut down the border crossing in both directions and fired tear gas to push back migrants from the border fence. She ruled out that Mexico would become a "safe third country" for the migrants trying to reach the U.S.
"Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries".
Needless to say, it's an intense scene.
Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin, described the Remain in Mexico plan as a strategy to take away the ability of migrants to live and work in the US while cases are processed.
Earlier in the morning, a group of Central Americans staged a peaceful march to appeal for the U.S.to speed up the asylum claims process, but their demonstration devolved as they neared the crossing with the USA and some saw an opportunity to breach the border.
The unrest in Tijuana comes amid broader discussions about how to deal with the growing number of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America who are amassed at crossing points in Tijuana and elsewhere along the border.
Trump also took to Twitter on Sunday to express his displeasure with the caravans.