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LatinNews Daily - 02 January 2019

Central American migrants continue to cause incidents at Mexico-US border

Development: On 1 January the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reported that 25 people, including some minors, have been arrested after a group of Central American migrants tried to cross the Mexico-US border in Tijuana, Baja California state. 

Significance: This is the second time that an incident has been reported at the Tijuana border crossing involving members of the Central American migrant caravan trying to forcefully cross the border and enter the US. The latest incident once again highlights the problems that the presence of the Central American migrants have been producing for both Mexico and the US due to the latter’s refusal to process the asylum requests and its insistence that Mexico should take in the migrants and dissuade them from tying to go to the US. This adds further pressure on both Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and US President Donald Trump to find a concerted solution to the issue.

  • Back in November 2018 a group of migrants who have set up a camp in Tijuana, waiting for the US authorities to process their application requests, attempted to forcefully cross into the US amid frustration with the slow progress of their applications. This resulted in violent clashes between US law enforcement and the migrants, as well as diplomatic tensions between Mexico and the US after US law enforcement officials fired tear gas into Mexican territory.
  • Since then, the situation of the migrants who remain at a makeshift camp in the Tijuana border has not improved. With frustration once again mounting a group of some 150 migrants tried to climb over the border fence near the Tijuana crossing in the early hours of 1 January. However, they were repelled by US border patrols and once again there were violent clashes with rocks thrown by migrants and US officials resorting to tear gas and pepper spray. According to a CBP report 25 individuals including two minors were arrested for trying to illegally enter the US. No casualties or injuries were reported by the CBP.

Looking Ahead: The Mexican government has yet to respond to the latest incident. But back in November Mexico demanded a formal explanation for the actions of US officials and it is likely that this latest incident will once again produce diplomatic tensions.