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Mexico to deport up to 500 migrants after weekend border clashes

View of tear gas that border police used to prevent groups of people from crossing the US-Mexico border at El Chaparral on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. A group of migrants from the caravan of Central Americans who advanced today towards the San Ysidro (USA) gateway deviated from the planned route to try to cross the border wall by other points, while the U.S. border police used tear gas. (David Guzman/EFE/Zuma Press/TNS)
November 26, 2018

Mexico has said it will be deporting some of the members from the 500 migrant group that split from the Central American caravan and engaged in clashes over the weekend.

The Mexican Interior Department said in a statement that some arrests were made by local authorities from the nearly 500 migrants after they rushed the U.S. border, and will face deportation over their “violent” and “illegal” actions.

It’s unclear how many were arrested and face deportation. Through Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) the migrants identified as contributors to the violence on Sunday will be “deported immediately.”

The statement noted that such violence harms objectives and violates immigration laws, in addition to posing serious risks to personnel and migrants at the border.

“The Government of Mexico reports that, despite the magnitude of this situation and in accordance with its internal policy of respect for human rights and the non-criminalization of migration, our country will not deploy military forces to face this problem,” a translation of the statement said.

“However, it will reinforce the border points where people broke into their attempt to illegally enter the United States,” the statement added.

On Sunday, hundreds of members from the Central American migrant caravan conducted demonstrations at the border in Tijuana, but tensions escalated when hundreds of members rushed the border.

After Mexico’s federal police officers were unsuccessful in their attempts to stop the rush of migrants, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) shut down the border and deployed tear gas in an attempt to disperse the migrant rush.

Migrants engaged in violence by retrieving tear gas canisters and hurling them back at the CBP agents. They also reportedly threw rocks at the agents, striking several of them.

Despite the efforts of the CBP, at least 30 migrants were able to enter the U.S. Approximately 42 were arrested by Mexican authorities.

The Mexican Interior Department’s statement also noted that the migrant caravan is comprised of 8,247 migrants, and 7,417 of them are present in Mexicali and Tijuana. At least 2,000 migrants sought the assistance of INM for voluntary deportations back to their countries of origin.

“The Government of Mexico reiterates its appeal to foreigners in transit to accept the benefits of regularizing their immigration status and access the benefits offered by the State, such as formal work, access to health services and public education, among others,” the statement urged.

Tijuana’s Mayor, Juan Manuel Gastelum, declared on Friday that the city was going through a humanitarian crisis under the burden of some 5,000 migrants that set up camp in Tijuana.

“The people of Tijuana will not pay for the stay of these migrants. I will not send Tijuana into debt, just like I have been able to avoid the last two years,” Gastelum said last week, adding that the Mexican government must “step up to its responsibility,” CNN reported.