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More Conflicts With Migrants and Shutdown are Expected Over US Southern Border

Clashes between migrants and law enforcement on the US-Mexico border near Tijuana have created a new challenge for lawmakers, while Homeland Security officials have defended the use of force, noting they expect additional confrontations.

Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), told reporters that dozens of assaults were committed Sunday against agents, four of whom were struck by projectiles, defended only by their gear, The Washington Post reported.

“US Customs and Border Protection agents and officers in San Diego effectively managed an extremely dangerous situation involving more than 1,000 individuals who sought to enter the US unlawfully and in large groups,” McAleenan told reporters Monday.

READ MORE: Trump Threatens to Close Border With Mexico as Migrant Caravan Approaches

McAleenan said the agency would review the use of force by its personnel, while the deployment of gas and other non-lethal tools to drive back the border jumpers was consistent with the agency's policies, adding that there are no 'reported serious injuries on either side of the border'.

Military officials said Monday that about 300 troops will be transferred to California to back up CBP, which has more than 1,000 agents and officers deployed in the San Diego area where clashes with migrants occurred on Sunday. The migrants participating in the border rush were a group from among the nearly 5,000 Central Americans who have arrived in Tijuana in recent weeks hoping to enter the United States. Homeland security agents arrested 69 border crossers in the no man's land between the two fences, according to US officials, cited by The Washington Post.

US officials said they had been preparing for members of the caravan to attempt a forced entry because the group of mostly Honduran migrants had previously pushed past border police to reach Guatemala and then Mexico.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Houston, Texas, U.S., October 22, 2018 - Sputnik International
Trump Not Ruling Out Gov't Shutdown Over Wall Funding at Post-Election Presser
Meanwhile, President Trump, who defended the use of tear gas on the border, noting that the authorities “had to use [the gas] because they were being rushed by some very tough people,” cited by The Hill, renewed his demand for the additional funding for his US-Mexico border wall. Additionally, in an interview with The Daily Republic Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby highlighted the chances for a partial governmental shutdown at the end of next week.

“The president, he's interested in $5 billion; how do we get there? You can configure it in different ways,” Shelby told reporters as the Senate returned to session after a week-long Thanksgiving break, noting that the $5 billion figure was a red line for Trump and he would not go lower.

The Democrats had agreed earlier this year in the Senate to give the border wall project only up to $1.6 billion.

On Thanksgiving, the US President told reporters that a shutdown over the wall is possible, The Washington Post reported.

“Could there be a shutdown? There certainly could,” Trump said. “And it will be about border security, of which the wall is a part".

The president is expected to meet with the House Republican leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the issue, according to the Post. The newspaper also reported that Republicans had asked the president to postpone his fight to secure additional border wall funding ahead of the midterms. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said earlier this month that lawmakers should stick with the bipartisan $1.6 billion deal agreed to earlier this year in the Senate, noting that they should not let Trump interfere, because 'every time he interferes, it gets bollixed up'.

Parts of the government will shut down on 8 December if the president does not sign a new funding bill into law. If an agreement on spending can't be reached, Congress might end up trying to pass a short-term spending bill that extends current funding levels.

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