The situation remains unhinged at the San Ysidro border port of entry in San Diego, California, just two days after officials closed the port and sprayed tear gas on migrant families on Sunday (November 25). The Washington Post reports Department of Homeland Security agents may close additional border entry ports.
The Trump administration and border officials faced criticism for the violent response to migrants attempting to cross the border near Tijuana, with a few hurling “projectiles” at border agents. Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee took to Twitter to express his frustration. “Shooting tear gas at children is not who we are as Americans,” he wrote. “Seeking asylum is not a crime. We must be better than this.”
Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told reporters the use of tear gas was justified. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers in San Diego effectively managed an extremely dangerous situation involving more than 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the U.S. unlawfully and in large groups,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, migrants, faced with the reality of danger if they attempt to seek asylum in the United States, are beginning to lose hope, The Post reports. On top of the potential physical threat, they also face the possibility of extremely long wait times. The news outlet says the list of asylum-seekers was already at roughly 3,000 before Sunday’s melee. U.S. officials have the capacity to process fewer than 100 applicants per day, which could make this a months-long waiting game for most.
“I see it as impossible for them to want to give us asylum,” Cindy Martinez of San Vicente, El Salvador told The Post. “Because of the words that President Donald Trump has said, I think this is impossible.” Like many others, Martinez is considering looking for work in Tijuana. According to The Post, “Officials also reported more interest from migrants wanting to start the process of staying in Mexico.” Others gave up completely and decided to return to their home countries. The International Organization for Migration is “offering assistance” to travelers who made that difficult choice.
Maria Louisa Caceres, a 42-year old woman from Honduras, told The Post she isn’t ready to throw in the towel because she wants asylum. “Now we wait,” she said.