Trump urges Mexico to send migrants home; 42 arrested

A Central American migrant sits on top of the border structure separating Mexico, left, and the United States, right, as U.S. Border Patrol agents look on, right, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, seen from Tijuana, Mexico.

The US president's threat comes a day after American authorities closed the country's busiest southern border crossing and fired tear gas into crowds. Border Patrol agents countered using "less lethal devices", which included tear gas and "other projectiles", but not rubber bullets.

"[CBP] effectively managed an extremely unsafe situation involving over 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the U.S. unlawfully in large groups".

Migrants run from tear gas, thrown by the US border patrol, near the border fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 25, 2018.

The US Government has defended its response to use tear gas after left-wing critics in the country said it was an over-the-top response.

For weeks before the November 6 congressional elections, Trump raised the alarm about the migrant caravans and ordered some 5,800 US troops to the border to support border patrol agents.

Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott told CNN "numerous" people had made it across the border on Sunday, adding that most of those who were detained were men.

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

U.S. authorities said on Monday that 42 people had been arrested for illegal crossing on the USA side of the border.

The clash between the migrant caravan and US authorities along the Mexican border in recent days highlights a contentious topic in the immigration debate: asylum laws. They were joined at Sunday's march by the National Immigrant Justice Center, which has been at the forefront of challenging Trump Administration policies on detaining asylum seeking families together until they can be processed.

Although Sunday's incident took place at a part of the border where there is already a physical barrier, Trump again urged Congress to fund his long-promised border wall, as well as reiterating his unsubstantiated assertion that there are many criminals among the migrants.

CBP temporarily halted border traffic on Sunday, but allowed crossings to resume Monday morning.

When they neared the second fence U.S. border agents fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them as helicopters buzzed overhead, an AFP journalist saw. "We launched tear gas into the area, which then caused the group to disperse, and we were able to get control of it", Judd said.

On Sunday, the situation at the border devolved after a large group marched to the USA border to appeal for the speed processing of asylum claims for Central American migrants marooned in Tijuana. "Far from helping the caravan, they are hurting it", he said in an interview with broadcaster Milenio.

However Mr Trump, the USA president, and government agencies involved defended the response and insisted on the need to secure the border with Mexico.

  • Tracy Klein