Asked once whether he was comfortable with his administration gassing children, Trump said: ‘They’re not – as you know, they’re not.
‘They had to use [it] because they were being rushed by some very tough people. And they used tear gas,’ he argued. ‘And here’s the bottom line: Nobody’s coming into our country unless they come in legally.’
He insisted again, several minutes later, as he was asked if gassing children is appropriate that his administration hasn’t. ‘We didn’t. We don’t use it on children,’ he asserted.
The denials follow weekend reports that women and children were hit with tear gas as migrants attempted to storm the southern border.
President Trump denied that border patrol agents fired tear gas on children over the weekend during a confrontation with a group of migrants
A migrant family, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, ran away from tear gas in front of the border wall between the U.S and Mexico in Tijuana on Sunday
News photographers on the Mexican side of the border captured images of Honduran children crying after running away from tear gas in Tijuana on Sunday
Trump then threatened to permanently close the U.S. border with
It was not clear whether he had the legal authority to do so and whether he had been advised that he does. He did not respond to a question on the issue as he departed the White House on Monday for Mississippi.
U.S. Border Patrol fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at a group of migrants on Sunday, including families with young children, as hundreds tried to storm the border.
San Diego Sector Border Control chief patrol agent Rodney Scott said Monday morning on CNN that when the migrants approached border fences, they ‘immediately started throwing rocks and debris at our agents, taunting our agents.’
‘And once our agents were assaulted and the numbers started growing – you know we had two or three agents at a time facing hundreds of people at a time – they deployed tear gas to protect themselves and protect the border.’
Carla Provost, the chief of U.S. Border Patrol, told the Fox news Channel that ‘our agents were being assaulted. A large group approached the area and they were throwing rocks and bottles at my men and women, putting them in harm’s way as well as other members of the caravan.’
The confrontation produced chaos and new dangers that prompted U.S. officials to close the crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, stopping everyone in their tracks – including thousands travelling legally between the U.S. and Mexico.
The border reopened Monday morning, but Trump tweeted a stern warning to Mexico: Deport the migrants, a horde that includes ‘stone cold criminals,’ or see the economically critical crossing sealed permanently.
He called for Congress to fund his border wall with Mexico at a time when congressional Democrats are counting down the final weeks before they take over the House of Representatives.
‘Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A.,’ Trump tweeted. ‘We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!’
President Donald Trump threatened to ‘permanently’ close the U.S.-Mexico border if members of a migrant caravan who stormed the heavily guarded fences near Tijuana aren’t sent back to their Central American countries
Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, told the Fox News Channel on Monday that ‘our agents were being assaulted’ – as video played of a caravan member hurling a rock toward the border fence
Rodney Scott, the chief border agent in San Diego Sector Border Control, said Monday on CNN that migrants threw rocks that struck U.S. Border Patrol agents and their vehicles, and that groups of them walked past officers instead of surrendering and claiming asylum
The president waved as he arrived back to the White House with first lady Melania Trump on Sunday night following his Thanksgiving holiday in Palm Beach, Florida; he’s taking a far tougher line than his predecessor, President Barack Obama
U.S. Border Patrol helicopters flew overhead, while officers in California held vigil on foot beyond the wire fence; they fired gas canisters and winds blew the fumes southward toward the advancing crowd
The president’s ultimatum played on TV screens worldwide Monday morning, alongside images of children screaming and coughing in Sunday’s mayhem at the San Ysidro Port of Entry as Border Patrol officers tried to push the surging mass of people back.
The crowd control tactics began when migrants tried to cut a hole in razor wire on the Mexican side of the fence.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told CNN on Monday that Border Patrol was guilty of an ‘overuse of force.’
‘There are women and children out there. Using tear gas in this situation does not seem justified,’ he said.
But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she would not put up with the ‘lawlessness’ and threatened harsh punishments for ‘anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our sovereignty.’
Nielsen confirmed that border personnel were ‘struck by projectiles thrown by caravan members.’ She condemned those responsible for their ‘dangerous’ actions that were ‘not consistent with peacefully seeking asylum.’
Mexico also vowed to deport about 500 migrants who tried to ‘violently’ and ‘illegally’ cross the U.S. border on Sunday, according to the Mexican Interior Ministry.
More than 5,000 of them, mostly asylum seekers, have been camped in and around a sports complex in Tijuana after making their way through Mexico in recent weeks.
Agents at the San Ysidro entry point are processing fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day.
But Scott, the Border Patrol’s chief agent in San Diego, said Monday legitimate asylum seekers are few and far between.
‘What I saw on the border yesterday was not people walking up to Border Patrol agents and asking to claim asylum,’ he said. ‘Matter of fact, one of the groups I watched, one of the groups that several of them were arrested, they passed 10 or 15 marked Border Patrol units … numerous uniformed personnel, as they were chanting, waving a Honduran flag, and throwing rocks at the agents.’
U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego suspended pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro Port of Entry but reopened it Monday; one migrant is pictured running back away from the U.S. with his face covered
Earlier Sunday, several hundred Central American migrants pushed past a blockade of Mexican police who were standing guard near the international border crossing
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
‘If they were truly asylum seekers, they would have just walked up with their hands up and surrendered. And that did not take place.’
Despite heightened tensions, Mexico said it would not send military forces to control more than 7,000 migrants from a caravan currently amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Honduran migrant Ana Zuniga, 23, said she saw migrants open a small hole in concertina wire at a gap on the Mexican side of a levee, at which point U.S. agents fired tear gas at them.
‘We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,’ she told the AP while cradling her three-year-old daughter Valery in her arms.
Mexico pledged to shore up security near its border with the United States and local authorities said that 39 migrants were arrested after a peaceful march devolved into chaos.
‘Today, several migrants threw projectiles at the agents in San Diego,’ Customs and Border Protection tweeted on Sunday
Mexico’s Milenio TV also showed images of several migrants at the border trying to jump over the fence.
Yards away on the U.S. side, shoppers streamed in and out of an outlet mall.
U.S. Border Patrol helicopters flew overhead, while U.S. agents held vigil on foot beyond the wire fence in California.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also tweeted that the tear gas followed attacks on U.S. border personnel
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted on Sunday: ‘It is critical that U.S. and Mexican federal leaders work together to safely resolve the migrant crisis’
The Border Patrol office in San Diego said via Twitter that pedestrian crossings have been suspended at the San Ysidro port of entry at both the East and West facilities.
All northbound and southbound traffic was halted.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted on Sunday: ‘It is critical that U.S. and Mexican federal leaders work together to safely resolve the migrant crisis.
‘Our way of life relies on a safe, secure and functioning border.
‘From travel to shipping to daily commutes between San Diego and Tijuana, it is essential to our community.’
Earlier Sunday, several hundred Central American migrants pushed past a blockade of Mexican police who were standing guard near the international border crossing.
They appeared to easily pass through without using violence, and some of the migrants called on each other to remain peaceful.
They convened the demonstration to try to pressure the U.S. to hear their asylum claims and carried hand-painted American and Honduran flags while chanting: ‘We are not criminals! We are international workers!’
A second line of Mexican police carrying plastic riot shields stood guard outside a Mexican customs and immigration plaza.
Mexican police scramble to form a blockade as they try to stop migrants from reaching the border with the U.S.
American Customs and Border Protection officers form a barrier behind rows of barbed wire to stop the migrants entering
Members of the migrant caravan run for cover after U.S. officers fired tear gas at them during clashes at the border
People attempting to cross in the U.S. look on as the San Ysidro port of entry stands closed at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday
Officials run in a staging area in the San Ysidro port of entry on Sunday
Mexico’s Federal Police officers are seen through the smoke of tear gas thrown by the U.S. Border Patrol to disperse Central American migrants
Migrants try to push past Mexican police on the Mexico-U.S. border at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana on Sunday
Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, run to cross Tijuana river near the border wall
Police cars form a roadblock across the San Ysidro border crossing after it was completely closed to all traffic
People trying to cross into America from Mexico through legal checkpoints wait by their cars after the border was shut
Pedestrians trying to cross into the U.S. at the San Ysidro port of entry wait for it to be reopened following clashes
Central American migrants yell through the border wall as they are confronted by an American Border Patrol Agent
A Honduran migrant speaks to U.S. guards after tear gas and rubber bullets were used to repel some who tried to cross
American border agents handcuff a migrant who tried to cross into the country illegally on Sunday
A migrant is seen holding rocks in his hands moments before throwing them at U.S. border guards near Tijuana
Migrant families, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America, look to cross the border into the United States
A balaclava-clad man covers his face after tear gas was used to repel an attempted border crossing from Mexico to the US
That line of police had installed tall steel panels behind them outside the Chaparral crossing on the Mexican side of the border.
Migrants were asked by police to turn back toward Mexico.
Irineo Mujica, who has accompanied the migrants for weeks as part of the aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said the aim of Sunday’s march toward the U.S. border was to make the migrants’ plight more visible to the governments of Mexico and the U.S.
‘We can’t have all these people here,’ Mujica told The Associated Press.
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.
U.S. President Donald 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),’ he wrote.
Mexico’s Interior Ministry said Sunday the country has sent 11,000 Central Americans back to their countries of origin since Oct. 19. It said that 1,906 of them 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.
Earlier on Sunday, Nielsen tweetedSunday: ‘This AM, @CBP was forced to close the #SanYsidro POE to ensure public safety in response to a large # of migrants seeking to illegally enter the U.S.
‘They attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border & sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles @ them.
‘@DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness & will not hesitate to shut down POEs for security reasons.
‘We’ll seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our sovereignty.
‘#CBP along w other DHS, federal, state & local law enforcement, & the @DeptofDefense, have a robust presence along the SW Border and at our POEs. We remain in close contact with Mexican authorities and are committed to resolving this situation safely in concert with them.’
In a later tweet, she condemned members of the caravan throwing objects at border personnel. She wrote: ‘Today CBP (Customs and Border Protection) personnel were struck by projectiles thrown by caravan members.
‘Such actions are dangerous & not consistent w peacefully seeking asylum. The perpetrators will be prosecuted. I will continue to aggressively support DHS personnel as they work to safely secure our border.’
Migrants cross the river at the Mexico-U.S. border after pushing past a line of Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana on Sunday
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers walks along a wall at the border between Mexico and the United States, as seen from San Diego
A migrant waves a Honduran flag as U.S. border patrol agents stand guard, seen at left through the fence
Migrants peer through the border wall after pushing past Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana
A person walks at the San Diego Outlets mall that sits near the U.S.- Mexico border wall in San Diego
Migrants move up a riverbank at the Mexico-U.S. border after getting past a line of Mexican police at the Chaparral border crossing
U.S. border agents stand guard a the Mexico-U.S. border after migrants pushed past Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing
The shadows of migrants are cast on the railroad tracks at the Mexico-U.S. border in Tijuana
A Central American migrant wrapped in a U.S. flag looks at the almost dry riverbed of the Tijuana River near the El Chaparral border
An official walks along the empty lanes of Interstate 5, where it reaches the San Ysidro port of entry, after closing the port Sunday
The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city and says that he has asked the United Nations for aid to deal with the approximately 5,000 Central American migrants who have arrived in the city
A large group of migrants gather in Tijuana to try to cross the El Chaparral border crossing on Sunday
Mexico’s Interior Ministry said Sunday the country has sent 11,000 Central Americans back to their countries of origin since Oct. 19. It said that 1,906 of them 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
Irineo Mujica, who has accompanied the migrants for weeks as part of the aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said the aim of Sunday’s march toward the U.S. border was to make the migrants’ plight more visible to the governments of Mexico and the U.S.
Many hope to apply for asylum in the U.S., but agents at the San Ysidro entry point are processing fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day
On Friday night, a mother-of-two was impaled after she tried to scale a U.S.-Mexico border fence in San Diego.
According to U.S. Border Patrol, the 26-year-old woman from Guatemala was with her two children, aged three and five, when she climbed the fence near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
The mother lost her balance and fell, and pieces of rebar pierced her side and buttocks.
Border Patrol told the Union-Tribune that it was dispatched to give medical aid around 8.30pm and asked for help from the San Diego Fire Department.
The woman was taken to the hospital by paramedics with non-life threatening injuries.
FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT BY HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN ON BORDER CHAOS
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is seen above speaking to reporters at Bordersfield State Park in San Ysidro, California on Tuesday
This morning, CBP was forced to close the San Ysidro Port of Entry to ensure public safety in response to large numbers of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.
After being prevented from entering the Port of Entry, some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them.
As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons.
We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our nation’s sovereignty.
CBP, along with other DHS law enforcement, federal law enforcement, the U.S. military and state and local law enforcement, will continue to have a robust presence along the Southwest Border and at our ports of entry to prevent illegal entry or violence.
We continue to stay in close contact with Mexican authorities and we remain committed to resolving this situation safely in concert with our Mexican partners.
Her children were also evaluated for trauma and, when they were cleared, were released to the custody of Border Patrol.
No information was available on whether the woman was planning to claim asylum in the U.S.
Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Olmos told City News Service that the woman told agents she was not part of the migrant caravan that arrived in Tijuana last week.
‘Entering our country illegally, particularly over our walls is not only dangerous, but also very foolish,’ San Diego’s Chief Border Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said on Saturday.
‘This woman placed her own life and her children’s lives in peril. She could have easily died if not for the quick response by our agents and EMS.’
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 U.S. border.
She had been at the bottom of the river – a concrete riverbed conveying a trickle of water – near the border with her daughter when U.S. agents fired tear gas.
Sarmiento said: ‘We ran, but the smoke always reached us and my daughter was choking.’ She added she never would have gotten that close with her daughter if she thought there would be gas.
President Donald Trump on Sunday warned Mexico it ‘would be very smart’ if the country stopped migrant caravans ‘long before’ they get to the U.S. border
Their denial surfaced less than an hour after Trump tweeted that migrants wouldn’t be allowed to cross into the United States while they were applying for asylum. He also threatened to close the border ‘if necessary’ following years of abuse
Marchers gather in San Diego to protest in support of the migrant caravan and against Trump’s policy of shutting them out
Hundreds of marchers in San Diego demand that the migrants be allowed to enter America during a protest on Sunday
People march in support of the migrant caravan, near the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday in San Diego
The gas reached hundreds of migrants protesting near the border after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries.
Officials say the rebar was part of ongoing construction and not related to the U.S. military’s recent mission to fortify the fence from the caravan.
Trump on Sunday continued to comment on the hot-button topic of his administration’s immigration policy.
The President reacted to a
Trump claimed that the family separation policy was initially implemented by the Obama administration, though this is incorrect.
’60 Minutes did a phony story about child separation when they know we had the exact same policy as the Obama Administration,’ the President tweeted.
Trump on Sunday continued to comment on the hot-button topic of his administration’s immigration policy
‘In fact a picture of children in jails was used by other Fake Media to show how bad (cruel) we are, but it was in 2014 during O years.
‘Obama separated children from parents, as did Bush etc., because that is the policy and law.
‘I tried to keep them together but the problem is, when you do that, vast numbers of additional people storm the Border.
‘So with Obama seperation is fine, but with Trump it’s not. Fake 60 Minutes!’
The President reacted to a 60 Minutes segment about the controversial family separation policy
On Saturday, Trump claimed on his Twitter account that he and the incoming Mexican government agreed to a hold asylum seekers south of the border while their claims were processed in U.S. courts.
Trump tweeted on Saturday: ‘Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court.
‘We only will allow those who come into our Country legally. Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No ‘Releasing’ into the U.S…
‘All will stay in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border.
‘There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!’
Trump’s tweet comes after Mexican officials said there was ‘no agreement of any type’ between its Government and the United States that will require asylum seekers to wait in the country while their claims move through U.S. courts.
Olga Sanchez Cordero, the top domestic policy official for president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who takes office on December 1, ruled out that Mexico would be declared a ‘safe third country’ for asylum claimants.
This followed a Washington Post report of a deal with the Trump administration known as ‘Remain in Mexico,’ which quoted her calling it a ‘short-term solution.’
The plan, according to the newspaper, foresees migrants staying in Mexico while their asylum claims in the United States are being processed, potentially ending a system President Donald Trump decries as ‘catch and release’ that has until now often allowed those seeking refuge to wait on safer U.S. soil.
Their denial surfaced less than an hour after Trump tweeted that migrants wouldn’t be allowed to cross into the United States while they were applying for asylum. He also threatened to close the border ‘if necessary’ following years of abuse.
Meanwhile an investigation by the
The Honduran military police should not possess U.S.-made rifles sold under private arms licensing agreements, according to the State Department.
Alejandra Martínez, who is now part of the migrant caravan, was targeted by a gang in Honduras who opened fire on him and a group of his friends.
‘We know that the guns come from the United States,’ Martínez told the Miami Herald at the time of the bloodshed.
‘These guns have no business in Honduras. They should stay in the United States. They are sending them to Honduras to kill us.’
More than a dozen people were shot and killed by the military police in the post-election violence, including several children, according to United Nations investigators.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum (left) has criticized Donald Trump (right) for threatening to close the border entirely if ‘it gets to a level where we are going to lose control’
Reports emerged that Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obradorhad agreed to allow migrants to stay in Mexico as a ‘short-term solution’ while the U.S. considered their applications for asylum but they were dismissed earlier today
More than 30 were wounded by the paramilitary unit, a repressive force that answers directly to the Honduran president.
The migrant caravan that left Honduras in mid-October was mostly well received by the towns it passed through along the way to the border.
Even cities with few resources made sure the migrants had food and a place to rest.
But in those places, the caravan stayed at most two nights with the exception of Mexico City.
In Tijuana, many of the migrants who are fleeing violence and poverty are seeking asylum in the United States and face the prospect of spending months in the border city before they have the opportunity to speak with a U.S. official.
Gastelum said Friday that the Mexican government has talked about sending 20 tons of resources to Tijuana to help but that three-fourths consisted of materials to reinforce the border and only 5 tons were for the migrants.
The mayor also criticized the federal government for not taking more seriously Trump’s threat Thursday to shut down the border if his administration determined Mexico had lost ‘control’ of the situation in Tijuana.
‘That’s serious,’ he said.