Forty-two people were arrested on suspicion of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border after members of the migrant caravan in Tijuana marched toward the border and prompted a five-hour shutdown at the San Ysidro crossing, a Border Patrol official said today.
San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott told CNN Monday morning that the 42 people, mostly men, were arrested Sunday on the U.S. side of the border.At least three Border Patrol agents were hit with rocks during Sunday's clash, but none were seriously injured, and agents used tear gas canisters to disperse crowds at the border fence, Scott told CNN.
The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement criticizing the decision to use tear gas.``Under no circumstances should CBP be using tear gas on children. This show of violence is outrageous and inhumane,'' ACLU Deputy Political Director Lorella Praeli said in a statement. ``The migrants at our southern border are human beings, including mothers and small children, who are exercising their legal, human right to seek asylum.''The San Ysidro Port of Entry -- the busiest land border crossing in the western hemisphere, according to the federal government -- was shut down for around five hours Sunday.
The closures of the pedestrian crossing and both the northbound and southbound vehicle crossings began around 11:30 a.m. Sunday after some members of the caravan tried to enter the United States through the San Ysidro Port of Entry's vehicle lanes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said.Officials reopened the pedestrian border crossing around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, then reopened vehicle lanes around 5 p.m.
President Donald Trump posted a tweet Monday threatening to shut down the border crossing permanently.``Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A.,'' Trump wrote. ``We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!''
Following Sunday's events, the Mexican Interior Ministry announced it would deport about 500 migrants who tried to ``violently'' and ``illegally'' cross the border.
Caravan members began marching from their shelter at the Benito Juarez sports complex to Mexico's El Chaparral border crossing, Mexican news site Frontera reported around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Videos posted to Twitter showed caravan members rushing past Mexican federal police who had been blocking them from getting too close to the border.
Tijuana Municipal Police detained 39 people Sunday, according to local authorities.
Some migrants have been trying to present themselves to United States immigration authorities for asylum, but the U.S. only processes 100 asylum applications a day, leaving thousands on the waiting list.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer posted a tweet Sunday night urging U.S. and Mexican officials to resolve the situation without closing the border.``It is critical that U.S. and Mexican federal leaders work together to safely resolve the migrant crisis,'' the mayor wrote. ``Our way of life relies on a safe, secure and functioning border. From travel to shipping to daily commutes between San Diego and Tijuana, it is essential to our community.''
Photo/Video Credit: Emiliano Limon/U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs