Hundreds of Central American migrants who tried to force through a Mexican police blockade into the United States retreated to a nearby camp Monday after USA border agents pushed them back with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said border agents' use of tear gas on caravan migrants trying to breach the U.S. -Mexico border was the "appropriate level of action". Now, Trump has responded to the whole ordeal.
"Mexico should move the flag waving migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries", he tweeted. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the United States of America.
Trump also tweeted on Saturday that migrants at the U.S. -Mexico border would stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were individually approved in U.S. courts, but Mexico's incoming government denied any deal had been struck.
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The vast majority of people attempting to file an asylum claim are allowed to do so once they reach the USA, but often don't see a judge for several years while they wait to see a judge.
Speaking on Fox & Friends on Monday, Ronald Colburn downplayed the use of crowd-dispersing spray, saying it was simply "pepper spray" and not tear gas.
American authorities also shut down the nation's busiest border crossing at San Ysidro for several hours at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.
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Sunday's confrontation at the border occurred where there is already a physical barrier. In response, the Customs and Border Protection agency shut down the border and fired the tear gas to push migrants back from the fence.
Earlier in the interview Monday, Colburn asserted that the so-called "caravan" of migrants and asylum-seekers "has a core of violence to it that basically communicates a sense of entitlement". As they reached a bridge and stairway that leads to a square near the USA border, they were stopped by Mexican authorities, who told them to wait for permission.
Sunday's incident, which took place after a group of people rushed at the border fencing, was the latest chapter in a weeks-long saga that has pitted Trump's hardline stance on immigration against a group of thousands of migrants who have made their way north through Mexico from violent and impoverished Central American countries.
"We ran, but the smoke always reached us and my daughter was choking", Sarmiento said, visibly shaken. Many hope to apply for asylum in the USA, but agents at the San Ysidro entry point are processing fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day.
Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol's San Diego Sector explained on CNN that the officers at the border emitted tear gas because they were threatened by people entering illegally.
United States authorities said on Monday that 42 people had been arrested for illegal crossing on the U.S. side of the border. The incident began with a march to the border that organizers said would be peaceful.
The Trump administration has said asylum claims from members of a series of caravans originating in Central America must be processed outside the USA, and that all those entering illegally will be denied. McAleenan said he was not aware of any successful illegal entries by caravan members into the US.
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