Mexico border crossing closed after migrant protest halted in Tijuana

27 November, 2018, 07:40 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Tijuana declares 'humanitarian crisis' seeks help from UN

Thousands of additional migrants are also expected to arrive in Tijuana.

Migrants were asked by police to turn back toward Mexico.

Although the number of people in the caravan was relatively small, the unrest, with migrants attempting to climb fences and run through vehicle lanes to reach the USA, and scenes of mothers and children choking on tear gas, represented a serious escalation of the caravan crisis.

Video footage from Reuters shows a cloud of tear gas near the border and people running away.

Tijuana city officials say they have no money to improve conditions at the sports center, where more than 5,000 migrants are sheltering in a space with capacity for no more than 3,500.

Mexico doesn't want the migrants any more than the USA does.

"Children screamed and coughed".

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.

"Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries", Trump tweeted.

Several hundred made it over the first barrier and were trying to cross a second - topped with spikes - when US border officers began firing tear gas at them even as US Army helicopters flew low overhead.

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During this ordeal, the San Ysidro Port of Entry, located near San Diego, was at a stand still.

To enter the United States legally, migrants must formally apply for asylum, but the wait for those requests to be processed can last up to a year.

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 US border was to make the migrants' plight more visible to the governments of Mexico and the U.S.

Lurbin Sarmiento, 26, of Copan, Honduras, walked back to the sports complex with her 4-year-old daughter shaken from what had unfolded a short time earlier at the Tijuana River and US border.

Rights groups have accused the US government of stalling the processing of asylum claims, allegations the US Customs and Border Protection denies.

Some of the migrants told The New York Times they thought they could negotiate with USA officials, but as they approached the metal border fence topped with barbed wire, they were met with several rounds of tear gas.

"We can't have all these people here", Mujica said.

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.

On Sunday, hundreds of caravan members, including women and children, were peacefully protesting when they were stopped by Mexican authorities, who told them to wait for permission.

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