TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - On a day of chaos near a border crossing in southern California, troops fortified the border fence in Nogales, Arizona.
Active duty military members continued working Sunday to attach concertina wire, or razor wire, to the 20-foot high steel-beam fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, as they have been for a couple weeks.
It comes as Central American migrants, mostly men, appeared to be trying to breach the border crossing between Tijuana and California, according to the Associated Press. The Border Patrol office in San Diego said via Twitter that pedestrian crossings were suspended for several hours at the San Ysidro port of entry.
Migrants approaching the U.S. border from Mexico were enveloped with tear gas after a few tried to breach the fence separating the two countries. U.S. agents shot the gas, according to an Associated Press reporter on the scene. Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem.
The Mexican government described Sunday’s events as “acts of provocation” that were “far from helpful” for the migrants' objectives.
It was quieter closer to home.
Border Patrol agents in Nogales told Tucson News Now that it was, “business as usual,” on Sunday at the Nogales port of entry and there was nothing out of the ordinary, compared to the chaos in the San Diego-area border.
But the efforts to reinforce the border fence with razor wire is the latest work being done by the army engineers, as instructed by the Trump administration for added security.
There are currently more than 5,700 active duty military members on the border. The total cost so far for deploying these thousands of troops to the border is $72 million, according to a CBS News report.
The army engineers working to place razor wire atop the border fence Sunday, roughly 1,000 feet from the nearby Nogales port of entry, are being housed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
The Department of Defense said these military members will not be working as law enforcement, though they are authorized to provide force protection for Border Patrol agents, if needed.
The Mexican Interior Ministry has said it would immediately deport Central American migrants who tried to “violently” breach the border with the U.S. just south of California and that it would reinforce the border.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Sunday that U.S. authorities will continue to have a “robust” presence along the Southwest border and that they will prosecute anyone who damages federal property or violates U.S. sovereignty.
About 500 migrants who arrived in Tijuana by caravan marched toward the border to plead for the U.S. to speed processing of asylum requests.
U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter again Sunday to express his displeasure with the caravans in Mexico.
“Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer),” he wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.