TIJUANA, Mexico – A peaceful march of Central American immigrants waiting for the southwest US border disappeared on Sunday afternoon, as hundreds of people tried to avoid a Mexican police block and drive towards a giant border crossing that leads to San Diego.
In response, the United States Customs and Border Bureau responded to the border crossing in both directions and fired tear gas to drive back migrants from the border.
Shortly afterwards, immigrants began their morning March to the border in Tijuana, Mexico, they were met by Mexican federal police officers at a bridge leading to the border crossing San Ysidro, through which millions of people and vehicles cross each year. By that time, many of the marchants crossed the police by driving over a dry river bed.
A small group of immigrants then attempted to reach a border crossing on trains about 10 minutes away, where they were stopped by tears of gas released by officials from the US Customs and Border Protection.
After the gas had cleared, the Mexican federal police returned the protesters from the train transmission area. .
Officer of C.P.B. also released tear gas at a particular point a few hundred meters from the train along the border to drive back the migrants.
In both cases, the gas containers landed on the American side of the border landed, but the gas was transported to Mexico.
Some of the protesters told the times they thought they could negotiate with US officials, but when they approached the metal boundary topped with barbed wire, they met with several round tear gases. Some men tried to climb on the wall but fell back into the gas’s face.
The unrest in Tijuana comes from broader discussions on how to deal with the growing number of immigrants flying poverty and violence in Central America gather at intersections in both Tijuana and elsewhere along the border.
Mexico opens a new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on December 1, and on Sunday, senior officials in his forthcoming government had planned to meet to discuss possible solutions for managing the population, including possibly allowing migrants applying for asylum in the United States States to stay in Mexico while being treated.
The Trump administration has demanded Mexico to host immigrants applying for asylum in the United States at the southern border as they await their hearing before a US immigration judge. The waiting for a hearing may be for months or even years, during which time many immigrants are released and may work according to rules that President Trump has described as “catch and release” and has promised to change.
However, the meeting of incoming administrative officials in Mexico City to discuss an answer was traced by chaotic events along the Ysidro border crossing. The focus of the meeting immediately took place in the current crisis and the political consequences it may have for the treatment of immigrants and antimigrating feelings that it may call in Mexico.
On Sunday, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that “Would be very SMART if Mexico were to stop the carriages long before reaching our southern border, or if countries would not let them form.”
Thousands of immigrants began arriving to Tijuana about 10 days ago and has been housed since then in crisp conditions in a sports center that has been transformed into provisional protection. Many have become increasingly desperate with the realization of the obstacles that remain for them when they reach the United States.
Tijuana City officials say they have no money to improve the conditions of the sports center where more than 5,000 immigrants are sheltered in a space with a capacity of no more than 3 500.
Fani Caballero, 32, an immigrant from Honduras, sat at the train tracks, in sight of US agents across the border. Her daughter, Cristina, 7, cried as bull and border helicopters circled overhead.
“People had thought they would open the gates, but it was a lie,” said Caballero. “We thought it would be easier”.
She had signed up for an interview with an asylum seeker in the United States, the first step in the asylum application process – but the migration of immigrants with the caravan meant she had to wait for weeks
“Now I suppose I’m just waiting for my trip, because I can not go back to my country, “she said.