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


President Trump has repeatedly threatened to close border crossings to prevent the migrant caravan from entering the U.S. Although members of the caravan have been in Tijuana for several days, this is the first time that a significant group has massed at the border fence.

Migrants were asked by police to turn back toward Mexico.

A smaller group of migrants then tried to make their way to a train border crossing about 10 minutes away, where they were stopped by tear gas released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

Mexico's Interior Ministry added that nearly 500 migrants had tried to cross the border in a "violent manner". Most of the migrants are being housed at a sports complex, where they face long wait times for food and bathrooms.

Junior, a migrant from Honduras, waves the American flag while standing with other migrants at the US-Mexico border fence.

Numerous migrants are seeking to apply for asylum in the US, but as James Fredrick reported for NPR, fewer than 100 asylum petitions per day are being processed at the San Ysidro entry point. "We must choose to be better than this, and @realDonaldTrump expected nothing less when he deployed thousands of troops to the border with the order to shoot to kill", Amnesty said on Twitter.

Pedestrians prepare to enter the U.S. at the San Ysidro port of entry. Every day more than 100,000 people enter the USA there.

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Trump announced on Saturday that his administration was working on a deal with Mexico to keep asylum seekers at America's southern border in Mexico.

In order to enter the United States legally, migrants must apply for asylum, but the process can last for up to a year.

The Mexican Interior Ministry said Sunday it would immediately deport the migrants who tried to "violently" breach the border.

On CNN Monday morning Chief U.S. Border Patrol Agent Rodney Scott defended the use of tear gas by saying agents had to use it to protect themselves after some migrants began throwing rocks at them.

"We can't have all these people here", Mujica said. Many residents of Tijuana work, study and visit the United States each day, and the border closures affect them, too, Juan Manuel Gastlum said on Twitter on Sunday.

Earlier in the morning, a group of Central Americans staged a peaceful march to appeal for the speed up the asylum claims process, but their demonstration devolved as they neared the crossing with the USA and some saw an opportunity to breach the border. Democrats and even some lawmakers in Trump's own party have resisted his calls to fund his proposed border wall.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, took to Twitter to accuse critics of having to "really hate President Donald Trump to not understand the problems created by the caravans". "Far from helping the caravan, they are hurting it". President Enrique Pena Nieto offered thousands of Central Americans asylum on October 26 if they agreed to remain in southern Mexico.