The journey of the so-called migrant caravan reached a head over the weekend as the U.S. closed, and then reopened, a busy border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, and Mexico announced the deportation of a number of the migrants.
Hundreds of people were peacefully protesting near the U.S. border in Tijuana, chanting that they aren’t criminals, when a smaller group broke off and headed toward the border fence. Tensions quickly rose and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers fired tear gas into Mexico and shut down traffic in both directions at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
While the border crossing was finally reopened hours later, Mexico’s interior ministry announced in the aftermath of Sunday’s events that it would deport an unspecified number within a group of 500 who tried to “violently” and “illegally” cross the border into the U.S. It further stated that it intends to reinforce the border but will not send military forces to do so.
The Washington Post had reported Saturday that the Trump administration and the incoming Mexican government had reached a tentative deal, called “Remain in Mexico,” which would hold asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are being processed. The incoming interior minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, initially confirmed the plan, but later denied that an agreement of any kind had been made.
For his part, President Trump tweeted several times about the asylum seekers over the weekend, noting that the border would be closed if necessary. He went on to suggest that it would be “very SMART” if Mexico stopped the caravans before they arrived at the 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). Dems created this problem. No crossings!”
In an early Monday tweet, Trump added, “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. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”