Mexico asks for investigation into use of force against migrant caravan; 25 arrested in latest attempt to cross US border

Mexico called on the United States on Thursday to investigate the use of force by border patrol agents against members of a Central American migrant caravan who tried to rush the US-Mexican border on New Year day.

Agence France-Presse January 04, 2019 07:52:56 IST
Mexico asks for investigation into use of force against migrant caravan; 25 arrested in latest attempt to cross US border

Mexico City: Mexico called on the United States on Thursday to investigate the use of force by border patrol agents against members of a Central American migrant caravan who tried to rush the US-Mexican border on New Year day.

"The foreign ministry sent a diplomatic cable today to the United States embassy about the incident that occurred on 1 January 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 25 November, 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.

Mexico asks for investigation into use of force against migrant caravan 25 arrested in latest attempt to cross US border

Jonathan, a 1-year-old migrant boy from Honduras, gestures towards rainwater dripping from his family's tent. Reuters

In both incidents, US 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, US 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 US border.

The caravan has triggered frequent tirades from US president Donald Trump, who says it includes dangerous criminals and regularly cites it as evidence of the need for his planned border wall.

It 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.

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

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

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