Migrants seeking entry into the United States appeared to push past Mexican police and press toward the U.S. border during a protest on Sunday afternoon, prompting an aggressive response from Border Patrol forces stationed across the fence near California’s San Ysidro border crossing.
Border patrol forces fired tear gas from the U.S. side of the fence, according to multiple reporters on scene, and may have used other non-lethal weapons during the incident.
Customs and Border Patrol shut down pedestrian crossings, and potentially the entire border, as the clash was ongoing.
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Wendy Fry, a San Diego Union-Tribune journalist on scene on the Mexican side of the border, reported that Border Patrol forces used a “shot bang” device (she may have meant flash bang, a common type of disorienting/ deterrent device) during one of the scuffles, and also reported Border Patrol’s use of tear gas.
Earlier livestreams from Mexican reporters in Tijuana showed large crowds of migrants running through streets and pushing past Mexican police decked out in riot gear, crossing a canal bed to push close to the border fence.
CBP has apparently closed the border to all traffic at the moment.
Mexican police moved in to push crowds away from the fence, where Fry reported that things were calming down slightly.
Fry reports that the incident appears to have started as a protest by migrants who are currently being forced to stay in shelters on the Tijuana side of the border. On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had negotiated a deal with the incoming Mexican government to hold migrants in Mexico while asylum claims are processed, although the Mexican government denied the deal existed on Sunday.
Border Patrol shut down and heavily fortified the San Ysidro crossing on Monday, alluding to a migrant plan to “rush the border,” though no such attempt occurred. Migrants previously pushed within 500 feet of a border pedestrian crossing in a slow and peaceful march on November 22.
This story is developing and will be updated.
Update, 4:10 p.m.: The U.S. military flew several helicopters over the Mexican side of the border, according to an ITV reporter on scene, who said this was a breach of normal protocol.
Here’s a striking photo of a family running from tear gas fired by either Mexican police or CBP agents on the U.S. side.
Fry reports that things where she is have largely stabilized: