US Border Is in Flames
TIJUANA, MEXICO – November 26, 2018
It has begun.
The crisis that has arisen with the caravan of migrants from poor countries of Central America stuck on the US-Mexican border must somehow be resolved.
We have repeatedly written about by whom and why this caravan was organized. Trump was driven into a classic trap from which there is no good way out. If he allows the migrants to pass, it will have extremely negative consequences for the US in economic, political, and socio-cultural terms, all of which will turn against Trump, who will be accused of softness and indecision.
But if Trump is going to be tough, there will be casualties, including women and children. Then he will be accused of cruelty and the excessive use of force. It seems Trump has decided on this second course of action, and now the forces behind the organization of the caravan are pushing for large-scale clashes on the border. And the more blood spilled, the better for the organizers.
It began Sunday. US border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants protesting near the border after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries; American authorities shut down border crossings from Tijuana where thousands are waiting to apply for asylum.
The situation devolved after the group began a peaceful march to appeal for the US to speed process asylum claims for Central American migrants marooned in Tijuana.
La @SEGOB_mx anuncia que el @INAMI_mx deportará a centroamericanos que intentaron ingresar a Estados Unidos@_OscarAugusto @H_Robles @JuanYvesPalomar @ncv_Violeta @hekglez @CaroliAche— Mariomarlo (@Mariomarlo) November 26, 2018
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Mexican police had kept them from walking over a bridge leading to the Mexican port of entry, but the migrants pushed past officers to walk across the Tijuana River below the bridge. More police carrying plastic riot shields were on the other side, but migrants walked along the river to an area where only an earthen levee and concertina wire separated them from US Border Patrol agents.
Some saw an opportunity to breach the crossing and attempted to penetrate several points along the border. US agents had to shoot several rounds of tear gas to stop them. According to Mexico's Interior Ministry, there were around 500 migrants who tried to "violently" enter the U.S.
Later the Ministry said in a statement that it would immediately deport those people and would reinforce security.
As the chaos unfolded, shoppers just yards away on the US side streamed in and out of an outlet mall. Children screamed and coughed. Fumes were carried by the wind towards people who were hundreds of feet away.
Mexico's Milenio TV showed images of migrants climbing over fences and peeling back metal sheeting to enter.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that US authorities will continue to have a "robust" presence along the Southwest border and that they will prosecute anyone who damages federal property or violates US sovereignty.
"DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons," she said.
The official indicated that it will continue the commitment to resolve the situation peacefully with the Mexican authorities. “We continue to be in contact with the Mexican authorities and we remain committed to resolve this situation peacefully, in concert with our Mexican partners,” said Nielsen.
Nielsen indicated that the administration will keep a robust presence on the border and ports of entry, with agents and military personnel, to prevent illegal entrance.
On Sunday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who has met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso — went on the offensive, alleging in a statement that many of the migrants were criminals themselves.
"We also are deeply concerned by the violence provoked by some members of the group, as well as the apparent political motivation of some organizers of the caravan," Pompeo said. "As President Trump has stated, consistent with U.S. law, the United States will not allow illegal immigrants to enter or remain in the United States," said Pompeo, who offered no examples of violence instigated by the migrants.
The travelers have said they are fleeing unemployment and violence in Honduras.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum on Friday declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city of 1.6 million, which he says is struggling to accommodate the crush of migrants.
President Trump took to Twitter Sunday to express his displeasure with the caravans in Mexico.
Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem. No crossings!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2018
Mexico's Interior Ministry said Sunday the country has sent 11,000 Central Americans back to their countries of origin since Oct. 19, when the first caravan entered the country. It said that 1,906 of those who have returned were members of the recent caravans.
Mexico is on track to send a total of around 100,000 Central Americans back home by the end of this year.