U.S. police fire tear gas at migrants trying to cross from Mexico

U.S. police fire tear gas at migrants trying to cross from Mexico

The showdown at the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing has thrown into sharp relief two competing narratives about the caravan of migrants hoping to apply for asylum but stuck on the Mexican sider.

U.S. Border Patrol fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at a group of migrants on Sunday, including families with young children, as hundreds tried to storm the border.

He said the US Border Patrol's use of force policy allows agents to use tear gas, but added the incident would be reviewed.

"As the events unfolded, quick, decisive and effective action prevented an extremely unsafe situation", he said.

The Mexican government said later on Sunday it had retaken control of the border crossing after almost 500 migrants tried to cross the USA border "in a violent manner", and vowed to immediately deport Central Americans who attempt to enter the United States illegally.

President Donald Trump said on Monday that the tear gas was "very safe".

At least one person crossed the US border and was apprehended by border authority, though a Mexican government official said at least 30 people crossed into the USA and were detained.

"What I saw on the border yesterday was not people walking up to Border Patrol agents and asking to claim asylum", Scott said.

US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen accused the migrants of seeking to harm US border patrol personnel "by throwing projectiles at them". I observed as the migrants, pushing baby strollers and wheelchairs with their meager belongings on their backs, streamed across the Tijuana river to the Mexican immigration offices and through fences to neighboring train tracks.

A migrant family from Honduras runs from tear gas released by U.S. border patrol near the fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana
Image A migrant family runs from tear gas released by US border patrol

The migrants involved in Sunday's incident were a fraction of a caravan of more than 5,000 that is now stuck in limbo in Tijuana.

Melkin Gonzalez, a 26-year-old Honduran man, recounting Sunday's tear gas firing, said: "I fell in dirty water when I was running (away) and I still don't have any clothes to change into".

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

Across Twitter views reacted to the news and images, expressing horror and shame at the officials who used tear gas and potentially other forms of physical retaliation at the people crossing the border.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said the throngs of migrants who have descended on his city is tantamount to a humanitarian crisis, and he declared an emergency.

Around 500 men, women and children, part of a caravan of roughly 5,000 mainly Hondurans who have been trekking towards the U.S. for weeks, scrambled over a rusted metal fence and surged into a concrete riverbed towards San Diego on Sunday. 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. With a backlog of cases that number into the thousands, many migrants appear set to linger along the border for months, if not longer. Democrats and even some lawmakers in Trump's own party have resisted his calls to fund his proposed border wall.

"Most of them are adult males".

Mexico's National Migration Institute said that 98 migrants were being deported after the attempted breach.

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