US authorities fired the gas into Mexico to keep roughly 150 migrants from breaching the border fence in Tijuana. US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement later Tuesday that the gas was used to target rock throwers apart from the migrants who were trying to cross. "No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away," the statement said. An Associated Press photographer saw at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border near Tijuana's beach that affected the migrants, including women and children, as well as journalists.
ALSO READ | Yellow Vest Protest: Emmanuel Macron vows to do better for citizens
The AP saw rocks thrown only after U.S. agents fired the tear gas. The agency said agents saw "toddler sized children" being passed over concertina wire with difficulty. It said its agents could not assist the children because of the rocks being thrown. Agents responded with smoke, pepper spray and tear gas, it said. The AP journalist also saw plastic pellets fired by US agents.
The agency said 25 migrants were detained while others crawled back into Mexico through a hole under the fence.
Earlier, Donald Trump threatened to "entirely close" the Southern border with Mexico and change the immigration laws if the opposition Democrats did not agree to his demand of funding for a border wall. The Trump administration is seeking more than US dollar 5 billion for the construction of the border wall. Trump also threatened to end all US aid to three Latin American countries--Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras-- arguing that these nations have done nothing to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. Donald Trump made a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking a key campaign promise in the 2016 election when he said it would be paid for by Mexico.
"We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve," Trump said in a series of four tweets.
ALSO READ | China inducts new-gen lightweight battle tanks for ‘hilly terrain'
"The United States looses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a 'profit making operation'," the US President tweeted.
"We build a wall or close the Southern Border. Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border..," Trump said.