Border agents used tear gas and pepper spray to prevent almost 50 migrants from entering the U.S. after they tried to storm their way through an entry point along the border in Texas.
The incident occurred at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge at around 4am on Saturday, Fox News reported.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection had to build temporary barriers along the bridge due to a large influx of migrants using it at night, when it is closed from midnight to 6 am.
Agents used tear gas to prevent almost 50 migrants from entering the U.S. after they tried to force their way into the U.S. via the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge (pictured)
Asylum-seekers wait in line to get a meal close to the International Bridge near a section where a father and daughter drowned attempting to cross into the United States on June 26, 2019
A CBP official told Fox News that the group of men attempted to pass through the bridge in three stages.
The official said: ‘Ignoring commands to stop, the group suddenly rushed the temporary barricades, bent metal poles and disabled the concertina wire affixed to the barrier.
‘Several males in the group disregarded commands to stop and physically pushed through the barriers.
The official added: ‘When confronted by CBP officers, the combative individuals began assaulting the officers by punching, kicking, and attempting to grab the officers’ protective devices.’
CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and police all assisted in stopping the group’s entry, according to the official.
Two individuals were charged with interference and federal charges are pending against 14 other people who were apprehended, the official said.
Mexican officials subsequently removed the remaining people from the bridge. The bridge later opened to commercial traffic at 8 am following a two-hour delay.
Border Patrol agents Lupe PeÒa, (left), and Marcelino ‘Alex’ Medina, (right), walk along a bridge over the Rio Grande River in Texas
The Rio Grande is seen from the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
On Friday, the U.S. government on Friday expanded its requirement that asylum seekers wait outside the country in a part of the Texas Rio Grande Valley across from one of Mexico’s most dangerous cities.
The Department of Homeland Security said that it would implement its Migrant Protection Protocols in Brownsville, Texas, across the border from Matamoros, Mexico.
DHS claimed that it anticipates that the first asylum seekers will be sent back to Mexico starting Friday.
Under the so-called ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, asylum seekers are briefly processed and given a date to return for an immigration court hearing before being sent back across the southern border.
A group of migrant families waits for transport in an area Border Patrol agents use to quickly check the migrants’ health and identification information and to provide snacks in Texas
Mexican riot police officers guard the entrance to a makeshift camp for asylum seekers near the U.S. and Mexican border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico in November
Since January, the policy has been implemented at several border cities including San Diego and El Paso, Texas.
At least 18,000 migrants have been sent back to Mexico under the policy, according to Mexico’s National Migration Institute.
The U.S. is trying to curtail the large flow of Central American migrants passing through Mexico to seek asylum under American law.
The busiest corridor for unauthorized border crossings is the Rio Grande Valley, at Texas’ southernmost point. Other cities in the region were not immediately included in the expansion.
Donald Trump is looking to curb migration from Central America by introducing new rules over who can claim asylum in the US
The policy announcement came as groups of lawmakers visited the region Friday to examine detention facilities operated by the U.S. Border Patrol, including the processing center in McAllen, Texas, where hundreds of adults and children are detained in fenced-in pens.
Standing outside the processing center on Friday, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon criticized conditions inside the facilities and other Trump administration programs cracking down on asylum seekers.
‘We want them treated with dignity and respect as we would want our family members to be treated,’ Merkley said.
U.S. Rep. Nanette Barragán, a California Democrat, tweeted that while visiting the processing center, she encountered a 13-year-old girl who was a U.S. citizen and had her passport with her.
The girl was held with her mother despite the facility being designed for immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission, not citizens, Barragán said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that the mother and daughter had been apprehended crossing the border illegally after the teenager had crossed into Mexico to meet her mother. CBP said the two were detained at the processing center for about five hours and released Friday afternoon.