Mexico Accuses Border Patrol of Using ‘Force’ in New Year’s Incursion, Pushes for Probe

Mexico regrets any act of violence along the border [and] reiterates its commitment to safeguarding the human rights and safety of all migrants…’

Mexico Accuses Border Patrol of Using 'Force' in New Year's Incursion, Pushes for Probe

Mexico has called for an investigation into the use of ‘force’ by U.S. border patrol agents against migrants trying to enter the United States illegally on Nov. 25, 2018 (pictured), and on Jan. 1, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

(AFP) Mexico called on the United States Thursday to investigate the use of force by border patrol agents against members of a Central American migrant caravan who tried to rush the U.S.–Mexican border on New Year’s Day.

“The foreign ministry sent a diplomatic cable today to the United States embassy about the incident that occurred on January 1 in the border zone… In it, the ministry requested an exhaustive investigation of events that day,” it said in a statement.

Mexico also repeated its call for an investigation into a similar incident on Nov. 25, when some 1,000 migrants from the caravan tried to force their way into the United States and were pushed back by border patrol agents.

In both incidents, U.S. Border Patrol fired tear gas to stop the migrants from crossing the border fence between the Mexican city of Tijuana and San Diego, California. They also fired rubber bullets during the November incident.

Around 100 migrants were involved in the New Year’s border crossing attempt.

Most were forced to turn back by the tear gas. Twenty-five were arrested, Border Patrol said.

Mexico “regrets any act of violence along the border” and “reiterates its commitment to safeguarding the human rights and safety of all migrants,” it said.

The migrants are part of a caravan of several thousand people that left Honduras in October and spent more than a month trekking across Mexico to reach the U.S. border.

After meeting with strong opposition from President Donald Trump, many of the caravan migrants, left in limbo while they await U.S. asylum hearings, have said they were surprised by the U.S. refusal to open its floodgates and were misled by organizers into joining.

The caravan once comprised some 7,000 people, but it has gradually dispersed as migrants cross the border, move elsewhere in Mexico or return home. Around 1,500 migrants are currently staying at the shelter set up for the caravan in Tijuana.

However, another caravan with an estimated 10,000 is expected to make its way to the border this spring.

The government of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, has so far sought to avoid confrontation with the Trump administration over the issue.

Instead, it is lobbying for a U.S.–Mexican plan to promote economic development across the region as a means to slow migration.