Around 100 Central Americans try to enter US on New Year's Eve




Central American migrants hoping to reach the United States queue for food on New Year
Central American migrants hoping to reach the United States queue for food on New Year's Eve at a temporary shelter in downtown Tijuana, Mexico  

Tijuana (Mexico) (AFP) - Around 100 Central American migrants made a failed attempt on New Year's Eve to cross over from Mexico into the United States.

They were among 1,500 migrants who have remained in Tijuana after a once-5,000-strong caravan of travelers largely gave up and dispersed.

An AFP journalist observed the smaller group of Central Americans gathering around 8:00 pm Monday night (0400 GMT Tuesday) in an area called Playas de Tijuana on the Pacific coast. Migrants often use it as a departure point for attempts to sneak across the border.

There, the border is marked with fencing and a large vertical plate that juts out into the water. On the other side of it, US border agents were seen mobilizing.

As night fell and people on both sides of the frontier prepared to celebrate New Year's Eve, the migrants tried to cross over but at least two smoke bombs were hurled and they ultimately held back.

Those who tried to cross included adult men, women with small children and adolescents.

After the attempt, part of the group stayed near the border and other Central Americans arrived and joined them.

Shortly after the New Year began, dozens of migrants stood on a hill from which they could see US border agents, who watched them closely.

When people in this group rushed the border in a second incident, US authorities fired tear gas to disperse them, an AFP photographer observed.

The migrants were part of a caravan that left Central America in October and traveled 4,300 kilometers (2,600 miles) to Tijuana in the hope of reaching the US and requesting asylum. Many were fleeing gang violence and poverty.

They arrived here in Tijuana early November and today about 1,500 still remain. The rest asked to be transported back home or dispersed to other parts of Mexico.

US President Donald Trump used the caravan to stir up fear of immigrants as he pressed his drive to build a wall on the border. He has also made it harder for people to request asylum at the frontier.

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