Tear Gas Greets Illegal Immigrants Trying To Sneak Across Border From Tijuana

A migrant is lowered toward concertina wire on the US side of the border fence

Tijuana has become a flashpoint in the debate over U.S. immigration policy, which has been intensified by the recent deaths of two migrant children in American custody and a partial U.S. government shutdown over U.S. President Donald Trump's demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico. The agency said officers fired smoke and other chemical agents into the crowd after some people began throwing rocks over the fence at border agents.

"To address the rock throwers assaulting agents and risking the safety of migrants attempting to cross who were already on the US side, both smoke and minimal countermeasures were deployed", the agency added.

Some migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at agents and officers, according to the agency. "Initial reporting indicates that once the attempted illegal entry was thwarted by agents, the mob began pushing women and minors to the front, forcing minors to climb unsafe concertina wire, and encouraged conveniently invited media to begin filming their illegal acts".

He said Mexico advocated "respect for migrants' human rights, security and integrity, while calling for respect for laws on both sides of the border". CBP estimated that about 150 migrants attempted to sneak into the USA illegally.

However, an Associated Press photographer said they saw rocks thrown only after USA agents fired the tear gas.

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The new year ushered in a cross-border clash during which tear gas was used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to block approximately 150 migrants attempting to climb over - or crawl under - the U.S. -Mexico border fence into California, officials said.

The incident is undergoing an internal review, a standard practice when agents use non-lethal deterrents, according to CBP guidelines.

Most of the migrants returned to Mexico through a hole under the fence and by climbing back over the fence.

The migrants in both cases were part of a caravan that left Central America in October and traveled 4,300 kilometers (2,600 miles) to Tijuana in the hope of reaching the United States and requesting asylum. It has been a constant target of President Donald Trump, who referred to it frequently in the run-up to United States midterm elections in November. The rest asked to be transported back home or dispersed to other parts of Mexico.

The U-S government has been on a partial shutdown over a standoff between the White House and the Congress over funding for a border wall since December 22 previous year. The federal government began its 12th day of a partial shutdown Wednesday; it is unlikely to end before Congress resumes on January 3. It affected the migrants, including women and children, as well as members of the press.