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article imageUS shuts border post as migrants try to cross from Mexico: official

By AFP     Nov 25, 2018 in World

US officials closed a border crossing in southern California on Sunday after hundreds of migrants tried to breach a fence from the Mexican city of Tijuana, US authorities announced.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office in San Diego, California, said on Twitter that it had closed both north and south access to vehicle traffic at the San Ysidro border post, before also suspending pedestrian crossings.

US troops and border patrol agents rushed to a border crossing between San Diego  California and Tij...
US troops and border patrol agents rushed to a border crossing between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico to stop hundreds of migrants trying to clamber over border fences
Sandy Huffaker, AFP/File

The incident took place only three days after US President Donald Trump threatened to close the "whole border" with Mexico if "it gets to a level where we're going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt."

Video clips posted Sunday on Twitter showed large numbers of migrants dashing across a shallow concrete waterway toward the border. Several thousand migrants, mostly from Central America, have been gathering in Tijuana in hopes of entering the US.

A group of Central American migrants--mostly from Honduras--cross the almost-dry riverbed of the Tij...
A group of Central American migrants--mostly from Honduras--cross the almost-dry riverbed of the Tijuana River in an attempt to get to El Chaparral port of entry, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, near the US-Mexico border on November 25, 2018
Guillermo Arias, AFP

At least 500 of them, including several women and children, had been taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Tijuana before dashing toward the border in an attempt to clamber over a first metal barrier there.

"Are we in the United States yet?" some asked in desperate tones.

Central American migrants are stopped by Mexican police forces as they reach the El Chaparral border...
Central American migrants are stopped by Mexican police forces as they reach the El Chaparral border crossing, in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on November 25, 2018
Pedro PARDO, AFP

Several hundred made it over the first barrier and were trying to cross a second -- topped with spikes -- when US border officers began firing tear gas at the group, even as US Army helicopters flew low overhead, according to an AFP journalist on the scene.

The migrants tried to protect themselves -- covering their faces, with mothers holding their children close. There were cries of pain, desperation and frustration as the crowd swirled over the border line and back.

A group of Central American migrants--mostly from Honduras--cross the almost-dry riverbed of the Tij...
A group of Central American migrants--mostly from Honduras--cross the almost-dry riverbed of the Tijuana River in an attempt to get to El Chaparral port of entry, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, near the US-Mexico border on November 25, 2018
Pedro PARDO, AFP

Some migrants shouted that they only wanted to make their way to a better life and find work in the US.

But amid the stinging gas, several migrants turned back, even as others tried to forge ahead.

Trump has repeatedly warned that the large group of migrants moving through Mexico toward the US included criminals and possibly terrorists, while providing no evidence to support that.

He has deployed some 9,000 US troops along the border in support of the CBP agents.

A United States Customs and Border Patrol agent is seen running after the United States-Mexico borde...
A United States Customs and Border Patrol agent is seen running after the United States-Mexico border was ordered closed on November 25, 2018 at the San Ysidro border crossing point south of San Diego, California
Sandy Huffaker, AFP

Approximately 5,000 reached Tijuana over the past week, after an exhausting trip of up to 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) covered in just over a month. Many were fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras in hopes of finding asylum in the US.

The San Ysidro border post is a busy one, with thousands of people passing through every day.

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