U.S. 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.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum on Friday declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city of 1.6 million, which he says is struggling to accommodate the crush of migrants.
In recent days, more than 5,000 migrants have been camped in Tijuana after arriving in Mexico from Central America.
Children screamed and coughed in the mayhem of the tear gas. San Ysidro is the busiest USA land crossing, and authorities there now process about 100 asylum seekers per day. Trump has vowed to shut down the southern border with lethal force if necessary, and is calling on Mexico to intervene.
The Mexican Interior Ministry said Sunday that since October 19, it had sent almost 2,000 Central Americans who were part of recent caravans back to their countries. She had signed up for an interview with a USA asylum officer, the first step in the asylum application process - but the surge of migrants with the caravan meant that she would be waiting for weeks. Her daughter, Cristina, 7, cried as Customs and Border Protection helicopters circled overhead.
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.
About 5,000 people - majority from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - have gathered in Tijuana after traveling in caravans in search of asylum to escape poverty and violence in their homelands, and many are expressing frustration at long wait times for their cases to be heard.
"However, the border crossings that people stormed while trying to illegally enter the United States will be reinforced", the ministry said. U.S. authorities claimed some of the migrants threw rocks and other projectiles at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
"Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries", Trump said Monday on Twitter.
US authorities closed the San Ysidro crossing to vehicle traffic in both directions as well as pedestrians for several hours before fully reopening late Sunday.
"People had thought that they were going to open the gates, but that was a lie", Caballero said.
Trump administration officials have characterized the vast majority of asylum claims as fraudulent or legally insufficient, and have taken steps to reduce the backlog of asylum claims that they say are often used by migrants to gain entry into the US and disappear into the country as their claims are adjudicated.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Trump administration had gained the support of Mexico's incoming government for a plan to require asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their applications to be processed. A Washington Post report Saturday indicated that the us and Mexico had come to a deal around such an arrangement, but in a separate report that followed, Mexican officials denied a deal had been made.