Read more The US official also answered criticism of the use of gas on groups including women and children, images of which spread rapidly online on Sunday, by saying the migrants pushed women and children towards the front.
The arrests came amid clashes with members of a migrant caravan attempting to enter the US from Tijuana, where teargas was used to repel people trying to run across the border.
Rodney Scott, the chief agent for the San Diego sector, told CNN on Monday morning his agents arrested 42 people who made it across the border. Thirty-nine arrests were reported on the Mexican side of the border.
Mexico is looking set to shore up security near the border too, as police lined up outside a shelter in Tijuana and told Central American migrants they couldn't walk toward the border area.
Scott said eight of those arrested were women, and there were only a few children involved. The vast majority of the people were dealing with are adult males, he said.
The official rejected criticism of the use of teargas on a group that included children, saying some migrants had pelted agents with rocks and debris.
The group immediately started throwing rocks and debris at our agents, taunting our agents, he said. Once our agents were assaulted, the numbers started growing. We had two or three agents at a time initially facing hundreds of people at a time. They deployed teargas to protect themselves and to protect the border.
Mexicos Government Will Increase Security at U.S. Border in Tijuana
Three agents were struck by rocks but were wearing helmets, shields and vests and were not seriously injured, Scott said. He said a number of border patrol vehicles were damaged.
Members of the migrant caravan are mostly Central Americans fleeing violence or poverty in their home countries and planning to apply for asylum in the US.
Democrats and other critics called the Trump administrations use of teargas toward the migrants an overreaction, and blamed the administration for rejecting efforts to address larger immigration issues.
Teargassing families seems unnecessary, Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, told CNN.
Scott said numerous people made it across the border in an area where a wall is in the process of being built. Parts of the border have a dilapidated wall made of scrap metal, Scott said.
The group breached a couple sections of that, actually tore down one small section, started to rush across, he said. And thats another time that they started assaulting our agents. We were able to hold them back using riot techniques.
Scott said members of the group passed border patrol units chanting, waving the Honduran flag, and throwing rocks and did not surrender to apply for asylum. If they were true asylum seekers, they would have just walked up with their hands up and surrendered, he said. And that did not take place.
Tearing into the company during an interview on Monday, Trump relayed his conversation with C.E.O. Mary Barra to The Wall Street Journal, telling the paper he told her, I heard youre closing your plant and warning that it better not be closed for long . . . Mary, because if it is you have a problem, like the 1920s gangster he thinks he is. To the Journal, the president repeated his vague threat about what might happen if the company doesnt immediately open a new facility in the town where they literally just announced theyll be closing the existing one. They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly, Trump told the paper. I love Ohio. I told them, youre playing around with the wrong person. Later, speaking with reporters, the president said that he was very tough with Barra, saying that he was not happy with the news and once again making a bold claim that will probably blow up in his face in short order. We have a lot of pressure on them, Trump said. I have no doubt that in a not-too-distant future, theyll put something else [in Ohio]. They better put something else in. He also claimed that his tariffs, which GM warned would undermine [its] competitiveness against foreign auto producers by . . . [increasing] global costs, have nothing to do with the layoffs.
Scott claimed the caravan had pushed women and children to the front of the group, resulting in images of small children fleeing from teargas that sparked outrage – a claim that was rejected by migrants in the group.
The group … would push women and children towards the front, and then begin basically rocking our agents, he said. We try to target specifically the instigators, specifically the person assaulting the agents, but as you saw from the video, once that chemical is released it does go through the air.
Lurbin Sarmiento, 26, of Copán, Honduras, said she had been with her four-year-old daughter at a concrete riverbed when US agents fired the gas.
We ran, but the smoke always reached us and my daughter was choking, Sarmiento told the AP, adding that she would never have approached the border fence if she thought there would be teargas.
Early on Monday, Donald Trump tweeted: Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. 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. Congress, fund the WALL!
The U.S. Border Patrols top agent in the San Diego region said Monday that aggressive migrants trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico on Sunday used women and children as human shields as they hurled rocks and debris at officers guarding a fence.
While the number of troops deployed to the southern border has decreased, the number of troops serving in California is on the rise. Thousands of migrants have been pouring into Tijuana, which is where more than 5,000 migrants, possibly many more, are camped.
Several agents were actually struck by rocks, Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said in a CNN interview.
What we saw over and over yesterday was that the group – the caravan, as we call them – would push women and children to the front, and then begin, basically, rocking our agents, he claimed.
Scott said three Border Patrol agents and several vehicles were struck. Agents responded with rubber bullets and canisters of pepper spray.
In an afternoon Fox News interview, National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd backed up Scotts view that migrant men are using women and children as shields while they hurled projectiles at uniformed agents.
They pushed women and children up front. And then behind those women and children, they started throwing rocks, cement bricks, they started throwing bottles at our Border Patrol agents, he recalled.
Rodney Scott, the chief border agent in San Diego Sector Border Control, said Monday that most of the people in the migrant caravan that has reached the U.S.-Mexico border are job-seekers, not genuine asylum-seekers
A caravan migrant, one of thousands traveling from Central America to the U.S. border, was photographed hurling a rock toward U.S. border patrol on Sunday
National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd said it was absolutely monstrous for caravan men to shove women and children to the front while they attacked border guards
A migrant woman and her children famously captured on film fleeing tear gas in front of the Tijuana-San Diego border wall may be an example of defenseless Central Americans put in harms way by rock-throwing men who gambled that Border Patrol wouldnt retaliate if females and minors were present
Carla Provost, the chief of U.S. Border Patrol, said in a Fox News Channel interview that a large group of migrants were throwing rocks and bottles at my men and women, putting them in harms way as well as other members of the caravan.
President Trump said hours later during a political rally in Tupelo, Mississippi that his administration will continue to take a hard line on migrants who try to fight or harm border guards.
We will not tolerate any form of assault or attack upon our border agents, like happened yesterday, he said, or any attempt to destroy federal property, overrun federal authorities or bring chaos and violence to American soil.
And if you look at whats happening along the border, you see whats happening. The mayor of Tijuana, he said, these are tough people. These people fight when you talk to them. These are tough people.
Scott claimed also on Monday that most of the migrants now waiting in Tijuana wont qualify for asylum in the U.S. because theyre job-seekers, not legitimate refugees.
Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, told the Fox News Channel on Monday that our agents were being assaulted – as video played of a caravan member hurling a rock toward the border fence