'We will close the border permanently if need be': Trump threatens decisive action unless Mexico deports caravan migrants as hundreds storm border and officers fire tear gas and rubber bullets as 'rocks and bottles' rain down on them
President Trump threatened to permanently close the U.S. border with Mexico on Monday, saying he'll take the drastic action if members of a swelling migrant caravan are not deported back to their Central American homelands.
U.S. Border Patrol fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at a group of migrants on Sunday, including families with young children, as hundreds tried to storm the border.
San Diego Sector Border Control chief patrol agent Rodney Scott said Monday morning on CNN that when the migrants approached border fences, they 'immediately started throwing rocks and debris at our agents, taunting our agents.'
'And once our agents were assaulted and the numbers started growing – you know we had two or three agents at a time facing hundreds of people at a time – they deployed tear gas to protect themselves and protect the border.'
Carla Provost, the chief of U.S. Border Patrol, told the Fox news Channel that 'our agents were being assaulted. A large group approached the area and they were throwing rocks and bottles at my men and women, putting them in harm's way as well as other members of the caravan.'
The confrontation produced chaos and new dangers that prompted U.S. officials to close the crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, stopping everyone in their tracks – including thousands travelling legally between the U.S. and Mexico.
The border reopened Monday morning, but Trump tweeted a stern warning to Mexico: Deport the migrants, a horde that includes 'stone cold criminals,' or see the economically critical crossing sealed permanently.
He called for Congress to fund his border wall with Mexico at a time when congressional Democrats are counting down the final weeks before they take over the House of Representatives.
'Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A.,' Trump tweeted. 'We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!'