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By Annie Rose Ramos and Daniella Silva
TIJUANA, Mexico — Mexican federal authorities surrounded a shelter here holding members of a caravan of Central American migrants and refugees Monday as the country said it was deporting anyone who crossed illegally the day before.
More than 100 federal police officers, some with riot gear, circled the Benito Juarez shelter, where many migrants making their way to the U.S., are staying on Monday.
It was unclear why the police were lined up around the shelter and what their role would be as some of the migrants wait for a chance to claim asylum in the United States. The authorities could be there to prevent a confrontation similar to Sunday’s incident at the border.
Migrants inside the camp were concerned police would search for anyone involve in a march at the U.S. border on Sunday and apprehend them.
Schools in the area of the shelter were also shut down and children were sent home and a long line of hundreds of migrants waited outside the shelter for food Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior said Monday that 98 migrants were apprehended and turned over to the authorities in order to be deported to their countries of origin because of the “violent behavior of a group of migrants who tried to attack and injure” officials who were guarding the border.
The agency also said it was working with authorities to find other individuals involved in Sunday’s incident and “carry out their immediate deportation” if appropriate.
Earlier Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted that Mexican officials should ship the thousands of migrants seeking entry into the U.S. back to their countries of origin by any means necessary, claiming that many are “stone cold criminals.”
Trump suggested that Mexico send the migrants back to countries such as Guatemala and Honduras by airplane, bus or “anyway you want.” The president also threatened to shut down the U.S. southern border “permanently” if needed.
Mexico’s National Institute of Migration had said Sunday it was working with authorities to deport any migrants who “violated the Mexico border” in order to cross into the United States to their home countries.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants who sought to enter the U.S. on Sunday near San Diego, leading to U.S. officials shutting down the San Ysidro Port of Entry between San Diego and Tijuana for more than six hours.
That shutdown happened after hundreds of migrants and refugees assembled Sunday morning on Mexican side of the border for a peaceful protest before some tried to cross the border illegally.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said on a call with reporters that 69 migrants who tried to cross the border illegally were arrested on the California side, according to The Associated Press.
Border Patrol said in a previous statement that it had used tear gas and pepper spray on the migrants after several struck agents with rocks. No injuries were reported.
Some migrants said they had sought to cross after being denied access at the port of entry where they were planning on seeking asylum.
Under U.S. and international law, a person may seek asylum based on persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Annie Rose Ramos reported from Tijuana, Mexico. Daniella Silva reported from New York.