Sunday 22 September 2019

Tensions rise over migrants at US border crossing

US border protection agents stand guard at the San Ysidro port of entry on the US-Mexico border at Tijuana. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo
US border protection agents stand guard at the San Ysidro port of entry on the US-Mexico border at Tijuana. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo

Lizbeth Diaz

Hundreds of Central American migrants in Mexico have massed around a tense US border crossing, where security measures held up long lines of Mexicans travelling to Thanksgiving gatherings on the other side of the frontier.

With few belongings, and many of them with children in tow, the migrants set out for the crossing from the baseball field in Tijuana where they have been camped out. Around 6,000 people have trekked across Mexico in a caravan in recent weeks and are now crammed into the field.

They arrived at the Chaparral border crossing, opposite San Diego, California, where they have said they will wait until they could request asylum, in spite of growing US measures to tighten the border.

"We are already desperate, last night it rained and we all got wet. There is no room left. We are all sick. My children have a cold... and nobody has come to give us help," said David, a Honduran who only provided his first name.

US President Donald Trump has authorised the use of lethal force on the border and warned the United States could close the whole frontier.

The San Ysidro road crossing into San Diego, one of the busiest in the world, was briefly closed by US officials as they performed a security exercise.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans enter the United States daily to work or study, and many were trying to get to Thanksgiving celebrations.

Mariana del Campo, a retired professor, was stuck in the line in her car.

"What's happening on the border is maddening," she said. "I don't know how long we can put up with this. Someone is going to get tired or explode."

Irish Independent

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