Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

‘We Will Close the Border Permanently if Need Be’

Tijuana declares 'humanitarian crisis' seeks help from UN Migrant woman hurt after being impaled while trying to climb over border
| 27 November, 2018, 05:26

Mexican and US authorities are pledging to prosecute those engaging in violence at the border, after a peaceful march in protest of long asylum processing times Sunday ended with a group of migrants breaking off and trying to cross and USA border patrol agents responding with tear gas.

Our chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay and his team have been on the front line of the migrants' struggle to make it across.

The mayor of Tijuana said on Sunday that he would not let the migrants' actions damage the city's relationship with its neighbors across the border.

The migrants' arrival has been met by some opposition from people in Tijuana, where many shelters were already at capacity, and on the US side of the border by increased security measures that include members of the military deployed there by President Donald Trump.

"Families are frightened and soldiers are shooting tear gas at toddlers".

Numerous migrants had gathered earlier in the day to protest against being forced to stay in Tijuana instead of being allowed to cross and seek asylum in the US.

The dramatic shutdown took place only three days after Trump threatened to close the "whole border" with Mexico if "it gets to a level where we're going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt".

Mexican Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete accused some of the migrants of attempting the Tijuana crossing in a "violent way".


"The people of Tijuana will not pay for the stay of these migrants".

More demonstrations were planned on Sunday at San Ysidro, the busiest land port of entry in the Western Hemisphere, according to the US General Services Administration. Many have become increasingly desperate with the realization of the obstacles still before them in reaching the United States.

CBP San Diego says pedestrian bridges between Tijuana and San Diego are now open again in both directions, heading north and south.

Duncan Wood, the director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, said in a statement that "the closing of the border is a drastic response to a serious incident but it is vital that calm heads prevail".

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

"As I have continually stated, D.H.S. 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.

Unclear what a short-term fix might look like, though, as run-ins between authorities and migrants continue to escalate. The wait can last months or even years, during which time many migrants are released and allowed to work under rules that President Donald Trump has described as "catch and release" and has vowed to change.

Mexico's interior ministry has said it plans to deport everyone caught trying to "violently" and "illegally" cross into the US on Sunday out of the country, while the office of Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said that at least 39 members of the caravan had been arrested over causing riots, disrupting public order and assaulting citizens, "among other causes".

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