A major port of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border was forced to close Friday after a hoard of illegal immigrants tried to bust through the barriers into the U.S.
Approximately 47 illegal immigrants bombarded the Pharr International Bridge in Texas around 4 a.m. and had a standoff with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, the New York Post reported.
“A group of 47 undocumented individuals attempted to illegally enter the United States in three waves,” the CBP said in a statement to The Post.
“Ignoring commands to stop, the group suddenly rushed the temporary barricades, bent metal poles and disabled the concertina wire affixed to the barrier,” they added.
CBP officers were forced to use tear gas and pepper balls to ward off the group after several officers were attacked during the chaos.
A CBP official told Fox News, “Several males in the group disregarded commands to stop and physically pushed through the barriers. When confronted by CBP officers, the combative individuals began assaulting the officers by punching, kicking, and attempting to grab the officers’ protective devices.”
Federal law enforcement officials apprehended and arrested 16 of the 47 immigrants. Two of the 16 will be charged with interference.
The rest were taken into custody by Mexican Law Enforcement.
It took combined efforts from CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, Pharr police and the Texas Department of Public Safety to put an end to the disruption, which resulted in a two-hour delay in reopening the bridge.
The bridge is normally closed between midnight and 6 a.m., but due to the huge groups of undocumented immigrants that try to cross over during the middle of the night, CBP must erect temporary barricades.
New policies by the Trump Administration implemented last week have attempted to slow the surge of asylum seekers, mainly Central American migrants, which has overwhelmed Border Patrol agents. The policy requires that they remain in Mexico while their asylum claim is reviewed. The U.S. is no longer offering protection if they come into the U.S. from a different country first.
About the new policies, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said, “Ultimately, today’s action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits,” Fox News reported on July 15.
Mexican officials recently announced that they will “spend millions of dollars to improve migrant shelters and detention centers that house families, but in southern Mexico, far from the U.S. border.”