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Mass border crossing effort used methods from almost 20 yrs ago

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

San Diego, Nov 27 (EFE).- The mass border crossing effort by undocumented migrants between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, on the weekend resurrected strategies not used for some 20 years and points up the foreigners' desperation to enter the United States.

More than 100 migrants tried to enter the United States illegally from Mexico just a quarter-mile from the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, Christian Ramirez, emphasized that this type of crossing attempt has not been seen since the mid-1990s, when Operation Guardian - including the construction of the border wall - was launched to strengthen security measures along the U.S.-Mexico frontier.

"Evidently it was an act of desperation," said the activist. They are deported people who have no chance of earning a living in Tijuana. This is a reaction by a sector that finds itself abandoned."

The attempt was planned and convened with a flyer that had been delivered to sites in Tijuana frequented by deported immigrants.

The document said that the aim of the effort was "to approach the line and catch the (U.S.) immigration authorities red-handed."

Salvador Beltran, who was deported five years ago, told Efe that once the migrants arrived at the site, they were confronted by Border Patrol agents with "electric shocks and tear gas," tactics that he called the kind used in a "war zone."

Despite the measures by the U.S. authorities, he said he understood the reaction of the agents "because they are within their rights" when such a number of people try to cross the border.

However, local leaders and activists criticized the use of force.

Meanwhile, the Border Patrol said that the crowd hurled stones and bottled at its agents at the site known as "El bordo" (i.e. the bank or berm).

The clash was captured on video by a group of documentary-makers who were on hand recording images for a short film.

Beltran said that he knew that crossing the border in this way would be "impossible," but he gave it a try out of consideration for his family, who is desperate to return to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they have relatives. EFE

"I want to be back with my son," he said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/131127/mass-border-crossing-effort-used-methods-almost-20-yrs-ago