Pres. Trump defends border agents for using tear gas

'Thank you President T': Trump congratulates himself as holiday break ends

Many among the more than 5,000 Central American migrants in Tijuana were urgently exploring their options amid a growing feeling that they had little hope of making successful asylum bids in the United States or of crossing the border illegally.

Without offering evidence, he also claimed that some of the women are not really parents but are instead "grabbers" who steal children so they have a better chance of being granted asylum in the U.S.

To effectively and compassionately mitigate this emergency, Amnesty called on Congress to cut off funding to Border Patrol operations until it completely ceases "illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers" and demand a stop to any proposed policy change that would hold asylum seekers in Mexico while their applications are processed in the U.S.

Baja California state Gov. Francisco Vega said nearly 9,000 migrants were in his state - mostly in Tijuana, with a smaller number in Mexicali - and called it "an issue of national security".

On Sunday, a group of almost 1,000 migrants, dramatically attempted to storm the border fence, near Tijuana, Mexico, following the temporary closure of the Southern California border crossing.

Martinez, 28, said she was now considering getting work in Tijuana. He set a goal of trying to move his family out of the sports stadium in another week.

Irineo Mujica, who has accompanied the migrants for weeks as part of the aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said the aim of Sunday's march toward the USA border was to make the migrants' plight more visible to the governments of Mexico and the US.

Tijuana public safety secretary Marco Antonio Sotomayor Amezcua told a news conference that Mexican police would be prudent in their use of force, but "we have to guard at all cost that the border posts are not closed again".

That contradicted a statement earlier Monday by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan who said, "Four agents were hit with rocks, but were wearing protective gear and did not suffer serious injuries".

An estimated 5,000 migrants are now in Tijuana hoping to apply for asylum in the United States.

That has instilled a sense of desperation among many after their grueling trek from Central America.

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Sunday's incident began with a march to the border that organizers said would be peaceful.

The gas reached hundreds of migrants protesting near the border after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries.

Cindy Martinez of San Vicente, El Salvador, said she had been about to cross the concertina wire to the US side when the tear gas was launched.

Following the incident, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan defended the firing of CS gas canisters by agents saying it was to stop an "extremely risky situation" after primarily adult males began throwing rocks.

"What I saw on the border yesterday was not people walking up to Border Patrol agents and asking to claim asylum", he said.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to express his displeasure with the caravans in Mexico.

Tijuana police said they arrested 39 people on the Mexican side.

"Instead of militarizing the border and peddling fear and discrimination, President Trump's administration should show compassion for those forced to flee their homes and must receive their requests for asylum without delay, as required by US and worldwide law", Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty global, said in a statement. He appealed to President Enrique Peña Nieto and the federal government to consider the situation a matter of national security and to take responsibility for coping with the effects of having so many people at the border.

Alex Castillo carried a red bedroll slung over his shoulder as he walked away from the Tijuana shelter on Monday, saying he would head to the industrial city of Monterrey to look for work and try to cross into the United States next year.

Carmen Rodriguez said parents had been calling for authorities to do something since the migrants arrived, adding her 9-year-old daughter won't be returning to classes until they are gone.

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