TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — After U.S. officials fired tear gas at immigrants trying to breach the border at Tijuana on Sunday, the Mexican Interior Ministry said it would immediately deport Central American immigrants who tried to “violently” breach the border and that it would reinforce its side of the line.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Sunday that U.S. authorities will continue to have a “robust” presence along the Southwest border and will prosecute anyone who damages federal property or violates U.S. sovereignty.
About 500 migrants who arrived in Tijuana by caravan marched toward the border on Sunday to plead for the U.S. to speed processing of asylum requests.
The march was dispersed by tear gas after some in the group tried to force their way into the U.S. The Mexican government described Sunday’s events as “acts of provocation” that were “far from helpful” for the migrants’ objectives.
U.S. agents shot the tear gas, according to an Associated Press reporter on the scene. Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem.
On the U.S. side of the fence, shoppers streamed in and out of an outlet mall.
Most of those who tried to cross the border were men. U.S. Border Patrol helicopters flew low overhead, while U.S. agents held vigil on foot beyond the wire fence. The Border Patrol office in San Diego said via Twitter that pedestrian crossings have been suspended at the San Ysidro port of entry at both the East and West facilities.