Early on Sunday, a peaceful march was staged by a group of Central American migrants with the aim of appealing for the asylum claims process. Thousands of them have camped in Tijuana with the hopes of applying for asylum in the United States but fewer than a hundred asylum petitions were processed daily by agents at the San Ysidro entry point. Irineo Mujica, part of an aid group, said the objective of the match toward US border was to the plight facing the migrants more visible to the Mexican and US governments.
They pushed past a Mexican police blockade quite easily without any sort of violence – some of the migrants were in fact heard calling out to each other remain peaceful. They were shouting with hand-painted Honduran and American flags aloft in their hands: We are international workers…! We are not criminals..!
The demonstration took a new turn when some of the group saw an opportunity to breach the border as they near the US crossing. They tried to find ways through several points along the border including – squeezing through gaps between mounted wires, peeling back metal sheeting and climbing over fences.
In order to stop the attempt, several shots of tear gas were fired by US agents according to an eyewitness. In this confusion, children were heard screaming and coughing. People who were not attempting to enter the US were not left out as the wind carried the ensuing fumes. Ana Zuniga, a Honduran with a 3-year-old daughter, said the more you try to run, the more the gas chokes you.
The pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro were closed as a result. South bound and the North bound vehicle lanes were also closed. All were reopened later in the day according tweets from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security secretary, said the closure of San Y Sidro was a matter of public safety because projectiles were thrown at CBP personnel. He reaffirmed that this kind of lawlessness would not be condoned, and ports of entry will be shut without hesitation for security and public safety reasons.
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