United States: US authorities have re-opened the San Ysidro port of entry into Mexico after briefly closing it following an attempt by hundreds of migrants to breach a fence, the Customs and Border Protection agency said Sunday.
It announced the crossing was re-opened in a series of tweets, saying that first pedestrian access was resumed, followed by vehicle traffic.
Federal authorities said the migrants tried to breach the border at multiple locations, leading to a number of assaults on Customs and Border Protection personnel and dozens of arrests.
The chaos left pedestrians on both sides of the border stranded, snarled freeway traffic for miles and prompted the closure of a nearby outlet mall on one of the busiest shopping days of the season, all as helicopters circled in the sky.
The confrontations highlighted the escalating tensions along the border as thousands of migrants from Central America poured into Tijuana in recent weeks seeking U.S. asylum.
President Trump has pushed to keep any migrants in Mexico as they await the immigration process.
Following Sunday’s events, the Mexican Interior Ministry announced it would deport about 500 migrants who tried to “violently” and “illegally” cross the border.
A Mexican federal police officer told the Union-Tribune that authorities were reviewing videotape of the confrontations at the border and would be detaining and deporting those involved.
The statement added that Mexican authorities had contained the protest at the crossing between Tijuana and San Diego and that, despite heightened tensions there, Mexico would not send military forces to control the thousands of migrants from a caravan currently amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials closed all vehicle and pedestrian crossings around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The pedestrian crossings were first to reopen about 3:45 p.m., followed by southbound freeway lanes and northbound vehicle processing lanes at 5 p.m.
Around 11:20 a.m., members of the group clashed with Mexican federal police in riot gear before rushing into a concrete canal toward an area of the border near the San Ysidro pedestrian bridge.
Soon after, a group of about 50 people managed to run past police to a small hole in the border fence.
A helicopter circled overhead as some in the group threw rocks at agents on the other side and pulled at the structure.
Federal officials said migrants attempted to enter the U.S. at multiple locations along the border as well as through freeway lanes at the port of entry.
During the altercations, migrants threw projectiles at Customs and Border Protection personnel and multiple agents were hit with rocks, federal officials said.
Authorities also deployed pepper balls and tear gas canisters in an attempt to get people to disperse.
As the clashes intensified, people in Mexico fled for cover.
After one instance, a mother was seen comforting her baby under a train, while covering the child’s face with a torn shirt to protect her from the tear gas.
Members of the caravan said at least two people appeared to be injured during Sunday’s events, including one child. As the situation calmed, one women could be heard speaking through a bull horn to U.S.
Border patrol agents on the other side saying, “We don’t want war, we don’t want killing...” During the incident, Tijuana Municipal Police detained 39 people, including 15 Mexicans and 24 Hondurans.
Police worked to escort the group at the border back to the Benito Juárez, the sports complex.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Twitter that federal officials will “prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our sovereignty.”
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum also took to Twitter to address the incident saying, “We will not allow our binational relationship to be broken by the bad behavior of the migrant caravan.”
He added that Tijuana residents who “work, study and visit the United States in peace” were affected by the closure.