President Trump Threatens to Close Border With Mexico 'Permanently If Need Be'

Tijuana declares 'humanitarian crisis' seeks help from UN

President Donald Trump authorized shooting tear gas late Sunday afternoon from the US border into Mexico against hundreds of migrants, including pregnant women, and children in diapers.

About 500 migrants on the Mexican side of the border overwhelmed police blockades near the San Ysidro Port of Entry Sunday afternoon, two journalists at the scene in Tijuana told CNN.

President Donald Trump has raised alarms about a caravan of Central American migrants as it approached the United States, with its members planning to apply for asylum on reaching the United States.

Mexico's Interior Ministry said Sunday it would immediately deport those who tried to "violently" enter the US from Tijuana. "Far from helping the caravan, they are hurting it".

Currently, 5,000 migrants are in a camp in Tijuana while the Trump administration is urging the Mexican government to keep them from the border.

"Families are frightened and soldiers are shooting tear gas at toddlers".

After running to relative safety a few hundred feet away, hundreds of the caravan members held a sit-in.

The group of migrants continued toward the border. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Many hope to apply for asylum in the US, but agents at the San Ysidro entry point are processing fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day.

On Saturday, Trump said the migrants would not be allowed into the United States until a court approves their asylum claim, which would break from existing policy allowing asylum seekers to remain in the US until an immigration judge hears their case.

She had been at the bottom of the river, a concrete riverbed conveying a trickle of water, near the border with her daughter when US agents fired tear gas. 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 U.S. Border Patrol agents.

According to the ministry, no casualties have been registered among migrants following their attempt to illegally enter the United States, and the situation at the border is under control. "Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the United States of America", the president said in a tweet.

Lurbin Sarmiento, 26, of Copan, Honduras, walked back to the sports complex with her 4-year-old daughter shaken from what had unfolded a short time earlier at the Tijuana River and USA border. Many were fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras in hopes of finding asylum in the US.

The mayor of Tijuana said on Sunday that he would not let the migrants' actions damage the city's relationship with its neighbors across the border.

The fate of the migrant caravan has become a heated political debate in the United States, with Trump and his supporters claiming that secure borders take priority over accepting asylum seekers.

On Monday morning President Trump tweeted that numerous migrants are "stone cold criminals", and threatened to close the border permanently.

Duncan Wood, the director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, said in a statement that "the closing of the border is a drastic response to a serious incident but it is vital that calm heads prevail".

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