Trump defends use of tear gas at border crossing

US Wrap: President calls on Mexico to deport migrants and urges Congress to fund wall

Mexican police broke up the latest in a series of daily protests, triggering a rush toward the US border on Sunday (November 25). Video: Luis Parra/Diego Gomez/Paula Monaco

 

US president Donald Trump doubled down on his hardline immigration policy on Monday, urging Mexico to deport migrants trying to cross the border into California.

Hours after US authorities fired tear gas at migrants who rushed the fencing separating the two countries, Mr Trump described the group as “flag-waving migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals”.

Growing tensions at the border just north of Tijuana in Mexico spilled out into the open late on Sunday when a group of migrants attempted to climb fences and run through car lanes to cross the border, prompting US authorities to temporarily close the border crossing.

The initially peaceful protest turned violent after some migrants threw rocks and bottles, authorities said, prompting customs and border protection officers to fire tear gas.

Arrested

Mexico said it had arrested 39 of the migrants and pledged to strengthen security at the border.

Leaving Washington for Mississippi where he was scheduled to hold two campaign rallies to support Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith in Tuesday’s Senate run-off election, Mr Trump defended the use of tear gas by authorities. It had to be used, he said, because “they were being rushed by some very tough people. No one is coming into our country unless they come in legally.”

Earlier on Monday, he urged Mexico to deport the migrants back to their country in an early morning tweet. “Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be,” he said. “Congress, fund the WALL!”

The president also cast doubt on the findings of a major report on climate change

His call for Congress to fund the wall came ahead of a December 7th deadline when the US government could enter a shutdown if key spending bills are not passed.

Mr Trump is pressing Congress to agree funding for his border wall before it finishes its session by the end of the year.

Concession

Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in January and are unlikely to agree to funding for a border wall unless they secure a major concession on immigration, such as a deal for so-called Dreamers – young people who were taken to the United States illegally as children.

The president also cast doubt on the findings of a major report on climate change published on Friday as he left Washington for Mississippi. He did not believe the report’s estimates of the negative affect of US climate policy on the economy.

The report claims that the United States could lose up to 10 per cent of its GDP by the end of this century as a result of climate change. But Mr Trump cast doubt on the report’s assertions. Claiming that the US is “the cleanest we’ve ever been”, he said that China, Japan and all of Asia needed to improve their climate credentials. “If we’re clean but every other place on Earth is dirty then that’s not so good.”