US agents fire tear gas to stop fence crossing

Border Patrol agents hold their guns as migrants try to go over the border fence near Tijuana Mexico

Another shows people going over the wall as armed agents stand on the United States side. The area is flat near the highway, then slopes sharply downward closer to the fence, where most of the migrants were clustered.

Those who tried to cross included adult men, women with small children and adolescents.

He said Mexico advocated "respect for migrants' human rights, security and integrity, while calling for respect for laws on both sides of the border".

US Customs and Border Protection said it responded to the rocks with smoke, pepper spray and tear gas. CBP estimated that about 150 migrants attempted to sneak into the USA illegally.

CBP said several teenagers were put over the fence's barbed wire in heavy jackets and blankets.

"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", CBP said, according to the Associated Press.

"Agents were not in a position to safely assist the children due to the large number of rocks being thrown at them".

Customs officials said agents saw "toddler-sized children" being passed over concertina wire with difficulty but couldn't help because of the rocks being thrown.

The incident took place between a highway and the border fence.

"Thankfully, not only were none of our Border Patrol agents injured during that event just after midnight on New Year's Day, but thankfully, none of the migrants that did ultimately make it across the border that were ultimately apprehended, none of [them] were injured or hurt", Perez said.

Agents "used the minimum force necessary", Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement. The deployment of tear gas will be reviewed by CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency said.

The migrant caravan left Central America in October and travelled 4,300km (2,600 miles) to Tijuana in the hope of reaching the U.S. and requesting asylum. Many were fleeing gang violence and poverty.

They arrived here in Tijuana in early November and today about 1,500 still remain. Others have found jobs in Mexico and tried to settle there.

The migrants arrested during Monday night's incident will likely face deportation proceedings but will also have the opportunity to apply for asylum.

Tijuana has become a flashpoint in the debate over USA immigration policy, amid a partial U.S. government shutdown over Mr Trump's demand for $5bn (£3.9bn) in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.

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