‘We Will Close the Border Permanently if Need Be’

Minnie Murray
November 27, 2018

Around 2,000 migrants have agreed to return to their countries of origin with the help of the Mexican authorities.

A smaller group of migrants then tried to make their way to a train border crossing about 10 minutes away, where they were stopped by tear gas released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The gas reached hundreds of migrants protesting near the border after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries.

Junior, a migrant from Honduras, waves the American flag while standing with other migrants at the US-Mexico border fence.

"Families are frightened and soldiers are shooting tear gas at toddlers".

Trump's tweet followed a vow from Mexico to deport migrants who tried to illegally enter the U.S. The Trump administration has said asylum claims from members of a series of caravans originating in Central America must be processed outside the U.S., and that all those entering illegally will be denied.

Irineo Mujica, who has accompanied the migrants for weeks as part of the aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said the aim of Sunday's march toward the US border was to make the migrants' plight more visible to the governments of Mexico and the U.S. "We must choose to be better than this, and @realDonaldTrump expected nothing less when he deployed thousands of troops to the border with the order to shoot to kill", Amnesty said on Twitter.

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.

Some attempted to enter through San Ysidro, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.


The president is putting more pressure on Mexico, warning that he might close the southern border "permanently" if necessary.

Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin, described the Remain in Mexico plan as a strategy to take away the ability of migrants to live and work in the USA while cases are processed.

Those who tried to "violently" and "illegally" enter the U.S. would be deported immediately, the Mexican interior ministry said on Sunday.

The mayor of Tijuana said on Sunday that he would not let the migrants' actions damage the city's relationship with its neighbors across the border.

"People had thought that they were going to open the gates, but that was a lie", Caballero said. "Congress, fund the WALL!" he added.

Trump has repeatedly suggested without evidence that the migrant caravans are full of hardened criminals, but they are mostly poor people with few belongings who are fleeing gang violence. Residents of Tijuana work, study and visit the United States each day, and the border closures affect them, too, Juan Manuel Gastélum Buenrostro said on Twitter on Sunday.

Mexico's Interior Ministry said Sunday the country has sent 11,000 Central Americans back to their countries of origin since October 19.

Mexico is on track to send a total of around 100,000 Central Americans back home by the end of this year.

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