Asylum seekers rushed the San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana.
Close to 1,000 of the asylum seekers from Honduras and Guatemala have reached the U.S.-Mexico border. The asylum seekers were blocked from using the official port of entry by Mexican federal agents on the Tijuana side, according to CNN. Undeterred, the migrants made their way across the Rio Grande River in an attempt to present themselves at the border to legally seek asylum.
United States Customs and Border Protection officers reacted to the group of asylum seekers rushing the border by throwing tear gas canisters into the crowd. According to the New York Times, more than two dozen tear gas canisters littered the Mexico side of the border after being thrown in different directions to push back against the asylum seekers.
“After being prevented from entering the Port of Entry, some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them,” United States Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement. “As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons. 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.”
ABC News reported that border agents on the U.S. side of the border responded by closing the world’s busiest border crossing station connecting Tijuana and San Diego. The border was closed for several hours reopening on Sunday evening
The caravan of asylum seekers peacefully marched more than 2,000 miles in a month to seek asylum. U.S. and international law allows for those seeking refuge the right to enter a country seeking asylum. Tijuana’s mayor, Juan Manuel Gastelum, called the influx of migrants in his city as a humanitarian crisis. Mayor Gastelum has called on the international community and Mexican government for assistance to help with the migrants currently in the city.
This is a developing story. Check back with mitú for updates as things develop.