SAN YSIDRO, UNITED STATES (AFP) - US authorities have reopened the San Ysidro port of entry into Mexico after briefly closing it following an attempt by hundreds of migrants to breach a fence, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Sunday (Nov 25).
It announced that the crossing in southern California was reopened in a series of tweets, saying that first pedestrian access was resumed, followed by vehicle traffic.
The incident took place only three days after US President Donald Trump threatened to close the "whole border" with Mexico if "it gets to a level where we're going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt".
Video clips posted on Sunday on Twitter showed large numbers of migrants dashing across a shallow concrete waterway towards the border. Several thousand migrants, mostly from Central America, have been gathering in Tijuana in hopes of entering the US.
At least 500 of them, including several women and children, had been taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Tijuana before dashing toward the border in an attempt to clamber over a first metal barrier there.
"Are we in the United States yet?" some asked in desperate tones. Several hundred made it over the first barrier and were trying to cross a second - topped with spikes - when US border officers began firing tear gas at the group, even as US Army helicopters flew low overhead, according to an AFP journalist on the scene.
The migrants tried to protect themselves - covering their faces, with mothers holding their children close.
There were cries of pain, desperation and frustration as the crowd swirled over the border line and back. Some migrants shouted that they only wanted to make their way to a better life and find work in the US.
Amid the stinging gas, several migrants turned back, even as others tried to forge ahead.
Mr Trump has repeatedly warned that the large group of migrants moving through Mexico toward the US included criminals and possibly terrorists, while providing no evidence to support that.
He has deployed some 9,000 US troops along the border in support of the CBP agents.