Mexico’s interior ministry said in a statement Sunday evening that many of the around 500 migrants who tried to cross the border into the United States earlier that day—prompting a violent response from U.S. authorities—would be deported back to their countries of origin, the BBC reports.
Video footage captured on Sunday shows that dozens of people, women and children included, ran toward a fence that marks the division between the U.S and Mexico near the city of Tijuana. In response, the Border Patrol fired tear gas on the crowd, which included children. In the midst of the skirmish, the port of entry was shuttered, but has since been reopened according to border patrol.
In its statement, the ministry contended that the migrants attempted to cross the border “violently” and “illegally,” and that those who took part in the supposed “violent events” would immediately face deportation. The ministry blamed the migrants—many of whom are themselves fleeing violence and desperate poverty in their home countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—for their brutal treatment by law enforcement, saying that “far from helping their objectives,” their actions led to a “serious incident.”
In doing so, the Mexican government—which is just days away from being replaced by a newly elected administration—aligned itself squarely with President Donald Trump.
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that migrant children seemed to be affected by the tear gas as they were “screaming and coughing in the mayhem.”
A 23-year-old Honduran migrant named Ana Zuniga said she ran away from the gas while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms. “We ran,” she said, “but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more.”