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Migrants seeking asylum are tear gassed as they rush U.S./Mexico border

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Migrants seeking asylum are tear gassed as they rush U.S./Mexico border

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Grace Walker, Staff Writer

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On Sunday November 25, a group of migrants marched toward the border of the U.S. and Tijuana. Growing impatient and eager for escape, the once peaceful group rushed a Mexican police blockade in an attempt to cross into San Diego. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency responded to the rush of migrants by closing the border on both sides and bombarding them with tear gas.

The policemen, equipped with riot shields, formed a line 100 yards from the border to contain the people and metal barriers were put up leading to the main border crossing point. It wasn’t until a group of frustrated migrants tried to make their way toward a border crossing point meant for trains that the tear gas was used. Some men who attempted to climb the fence were defeated by the clouds of gas. A number of people had their children with them, some even in strollers, at the time the gas was released. A few migrants, who had the chance to speak to the New York Times, claimed they believed they would be able to negotiate access with the border control officers.

32 year old Fani Caballero arrived with the Honduran caravan and witnessed the tear gas attack. Her seven year old daughter cried in her arms as helicopters circled above them. 22 year old Andrés Medina, who was tear gassed last Sunday, is not ready to give up hope. He is striving for a better life for himself: he is fleeing Honduras to escape gang recruitment that will undoubtedly determine the course of the rest of his life.

The United States government has responded to the outcries of those American people who voiced concern that the defense tactic was too harsh. Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, responded to the incident and public outcry. “As I have continually stated, D.H.S. will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons.” Mexican officials reported that 500 people were involved in the march to the border, and that those who acted aggressively toward federal police would be deported. A reported 39 people have been arrested due to this incidents. The 500 migrants involved in Sunday’s altercation are only a fraction of the people inside the northbound caravan that left Honduras last month. Unrest within Tijuana stems from extreme poverty and violence within Central America, and the number of Mexicans awaiting asylum increases daily. Wayne Cornelius, a political science professor at the University of California San Diego, claimed that the longer caravaners await access into the U.S., the more eager they become and the more likely they are to attempt crossing illegally. Grants for asylum can take months, and even years.

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Migrants seeking asylum are tear gassed as they rush U.S./Mexico border