TIJUANA, Mexico – Several hundred Central American migrants have marched toward the international border crossing between Tijuana and California to pressure the U.S to hear their asylum claims.
The migrants carried hand-painted American and Honduran flags and chanted: “We are not criminals! We are international workers!”
A few dozen Mexican police with plastic riot shields stopped the migrants well ahead of the crossing on Sunday.
More than 5,000 migrants are camped in and around a sports complex in Tijuana after making their way through Mexico in recent weeks via caravan.
WATCH: Tension and frustration at the U.S.-Mexico border
Many hope to apply for asylum in the U.S., but agents at the San Ysidro entry point are processing fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day.
Vehicle and pedestrian crossings have been suspended at the crossing amid the situation, NBC News reported.
Mexican federal police have also shut down the border from their side, and no cars are being allowed entry.
AP Mexico correspondent Chris Sherman tweeted that U.S. Border Patrol launched tear gas into Mexico.
Parents were spotted running away from the tear gas with “choking toddlers.”
One was spotted with her eyes burning red.
The teargas was reportedly launched after a hole was opened in some wire at the bottom of the Tijuana River.
Migrants had to run for “hundreds of yards” so they could escape the teargas, Sherman reported.
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