Mexican migration officials said that they had deported around 98 members of the migrant caravan who tried to cross the US border near Tijuana on November 25, Sunday. On that day, US border security rounded up hundreds of members of the caravan who were in the vicinity of the border gates near the Mexican town of Tijuana and used tear gas against them. U.S. authorities also shut down the country’s busiest border crossing at San Ysidro, California, for several hours on Sunday. According to reports, the US Border Security didn’t hesitate to use teargas even against women and children.
The deportation took place after US president Donald Trump pressurized Mexican authorities to ‘manage’ the situation. According to reports, Mexican authorities had also established a fence around the main shelter for migrants at the sports complex “Benito Juarez” which as of Sunday night housed some 5,600 migrants.
The migrants were among the nearly 7,000-strong caravan which began on October 13 from San Pedro Sula in Honduras. They reached Tijuana after travelling around 4,000 km. Many of the migrants left Honduras due to the horrible living conditions, persecution and lack of opportunity, especially after assumption of power by Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), and his subsequent illegal victory in the 2017 elections. JOH is strongly backed by the United States.
Even as the refugees have received widespread support and solidarity from across the world, Donald Trump and the US establishment have repeatedly threatened and abused them, claiming that the caravan is full of “criminals” and “unknown Middle Easterners.” Trump also alerted the US border patrol several times to stop the caravan from entering US.
The actions of the Mexican authorities in forcefully repelling asylum seekers, including women and children, drew widespread criticism.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), condemned the act by saying that “tear gassing children is outrageous and inhumane.” It said, “The migrants at our southern border include mothers and small children exercising their legal, human right to seek asylum.”
US Representative-elect and Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted “Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime”.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) said that with asylum seekers, including children, being choked by tear gas along the US border with Mexico, “a humanitarian crisis [had become] even more inhumane.” NNIRR emphasized the fact that both “U.S. and international laws say these migrants have the right to apply for asylum.”