Migrants were tear-gassed by US agents as the border crossing was closed. Picture: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
Migrants were tear-gassed by US agents as the border crossing was closed. Picture: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

Chaos as US-Mexico border closed

Hundreds of migrants have stormed the US-Mexico border as US agents tear-gassed people trying to breach the fence separating the two countries.

Children were seen screaming and coughing in the mayhem at the crossing between Tijuana and California as the Border Patrol office in San Diego said it had been closed.

US Border Patrol helicopters flew low overhead, while agents patrolled on foot beyond the wire fence.

Border Patrol said the pedestrian crossings have been suspended at the San Ysidro port of entry at both the East and West facilities.

 

Migrants push past Mexican police at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
Migrants push past Mexican police at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

 

It came after Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to attack the migrant "caravan" and called on Mexico to stop the crossings.

"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," he wrote.

He also claimed, without evidence, the caravans were a way "(leaders) get certain people out of their country and dump (them in the) US".

The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border town and says that he has asked the United Nations for aid to deal with the approximately 5000 Central American migrants who have arrived in the city.

Earlier, Mr Trump claimed migrants at the border would stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were individually approved in US courts - to the surprise of Mexico itself.

Olga Sanchez Cordero, Mexico's incoming interior minister, said there was "no agreement of any type between the future government of Mexico and the United States".

Ms Sanchez Cordero ruled out that Mexico would be declared a "safe third country" for asylum claimants, following 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 US are processed, potentially ending a system Mr Trump decries as "catch and release" that has until now often allowed those seeking refuge to wait on safer US soil.

"Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court," Mr Trump said in a tweet late on Saturday.

"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 US."

"All will stay in Mexico," Mr Trump added in second tweet, that also threatened to close the US southern border if necessary.

- With wires

More to come



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