- US authorities reportedly arrested 69 migrants that attempted to enter the US on Sunday when a large group rushed the border at San Ysidro in California.
- Tijuana police said that another three-dozen migrants were arrested on the Mexican side.
- Those who were detained for attempting to “violently” breach the border face deportation.
- The situation, which began as a peaceful protest but quickly devolved into chaos, ended with the migrants retreating to their camp after border agents used rubber bullets and tear gas to drive them back.
More than 100 migrants have been arrested after trying to cross the US-Mexico border on Sunday, authorities in the US and Mexico have said.
A mass of Central American migrants charged the US southern border on Sunday, overwhelming police blockades near San Ysidro, California, the largest and busiest port of entry on the US-Mexico border.
Some of the migrants “attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm [Customs and Border Protection] personnel by throwing projectiles at them,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Monday that 69 people were arrested after they attempted to enter the US illegally, Fox News reported. Another 39 were reportedly arrested on the Mexican side of the border. Those detained for trying to “violently” breach the border will be deported, Mexico’s interior ministry previously explained.
Mexico’s National Migration Institute told The Associated Press that 98 migrants arrested in Mexico for attempting to breach the border are awaiting deportation.
While the situation began as a peaceful protest calling on the US to expedite the processing of asylum claims, it quickly escalated as migrants hurled rocks at border patrol personnel. CBP agents responded by lobbing tear gas at the approaching migrants to “dispel the group because of the risk to agents’ safety,” the agency said on Twitter.
The San Ysidro Port of Entry was temporarily closed amid the chaos. It was reopened a few hours later.
“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 will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our nation’s sovereignty.”
President Donald Trump took it a step further in a tweet Monday.
“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries,” Trump tweeted. “Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”
At the urging of the White House and at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defence deployed roughly 6,000 active-duty troops to the border earlier this month, weeks ahead of the midterm elections.
These troops were deployed on top of the more than 2,000 National Guard personnel already at the border.
After being driven away from the border by tear gas and rubber bullets, the migrants retreated to a camp nearby, AFP reported.
A large group of more than 5,000 migrants is camped out in Tijuana after marching for weeks across Mexico determined to enter the US. Most say they plan to do so by applying for asylum. Mexican police, in the aftermath of Sunday’s clash, have bolstered security to prevent migrants from rushing the border, The Associated Press reported.