Wednesday, November 28, 2018

U.S. Border Officials Prepare For Additional Confrontations With Migrants, Port Closures

Tomas Ayuso/Bloomberg News
A day after U.S. agents fired tear gas to repel migrants breaking through the border fence in Southern California, Homeland Security officials defended the use of force and their decision to close the country’s busiest port of entry, saying they expect additional confrontations and shutdowns.
Facing dismal conditions in Mexico and long waits for the chance to request asylum in the United States, thousands of Central American migrants are becoming more agitated, and officials see no quick resolution to the tensions that erupted Sunday.
The flow of caravan groups to Tijuana has slowed in recent days, but busloads of other migrants have arrived in Mexicali, 90 miles to the east, where the U.S. border crossing has even less capacity to process asylum seekers. Desperation there could leave U.S. border agents facing volatile crowds in two locations.
On Monday, critics of the Trump administration denounced border agents’ use of force on groups that included families with children, but U.S. officials praised what they called “quick and effective action” against crowds of stone-slinging young men who pried open the border fence at multiple locations to squeeze through.
Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told reporters that dozens of assaults were committed Sunday against agents, four of whom were struck by projectiles but spared injury thanks to their protective gear.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers in San Diego effectively managed an extremely dangerous situation involving more than 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the U.S. unlawfully and in large groups,” McAleenan told reporters Monday.
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