US again uses tear gas on migrants at Mexican border

Member elect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez talks to fellow members of Congress during the first session of the 116th Congress

United States authorities fired tear gas into Mexico during the first hours of the new year to repel about 150 migrants who were trying to breach the border fence in Tijuana.

An AFP journalist observed the smaller group of Central Americans gathering around 8:00 pm Monday night (0400 GMT Tuesday) in an area called Playas de Tijuana on the Pacific coast.

Border Patrol units deployed at those two spots could be seen waiting for the migrants.

The agency said agents saw "toddler-sized children" being passed over concertina wire with difficulty.

At least 100 Central American migrants tried to illegally cross into the USA through the Playas de Tijuana zone after dark on New Year's Eve but were unable to do so, human rights entities reported.

'The rock throwers were located south of the fence, in an elevated position both above the border fence area and the incursion attempt'.

After the attempt, part of the group stayed near the border and other Central Americans arrived and joined them.

Border patrol officers responded by firing smoke, pepper spray and tear gas at the rock throwers in Mexico, distinguishing them from those who were trying to cross the fence line, CBP said.

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The AP reported only seeing rocks thrown after the tear gas was sacked, noting that it affected the group migrants, which included women, children and journalists.

FOX 5 San Diego reported some migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at agents and officers, according to the agency. The AP saw rocks thrown only after USA agents fired the tear gas.

The agency said 25 migrants were detained, while others crawled back into Mexico through a hole under the fence.

Rights groups raised questions over the use of force, in which at least one man was wounded. During a second attempt, migrants began to pass youths and children over the razor wire along the fencing to the US side.

The migrant caravan left Central America in October and travelled 4,300km (2,600 miles) to Tijuana in the hope of reaching the U.S. and requesting asylum. Many were fleeing gang violence and poverty. The rest asked to be transported back home or dispersed to other parts of Mexico.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: "No choice" on continuing government shutdown Syrian troop withdraw will take four months: report Kim Jong Un: North Korea may "seek a new path" if U.S. doesn't negotiate MORE has demanded $5 billion to build a border wall, while Democrats refuse to increase previous levels of funding for border fencing.

Newly minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and top Republicans head to the White House Situation Room Friday morning for their second meeting of the week on the 14th day of the partial government shutdown, after they made no progress in a meeting Wednesday at the White House.

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