One of those taken into custody during the demonstration at the U.S.- Mexico line in the far southwestern reaches of San Diego allegedly assaulted an officer, and the rest were detained for trespassing, Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco told reporters.
Border Patrol officers reportedly asked the demonstrators to back away from border fencing and began making arrests when they did not comply, according to reports from the scene.
The demonstration was part of the “Love Knows No Borders” movement, intended by immigration activists to raise awareness to the difficulties immigrants and asylum-seekers face. The demonstration in San Diego, one of several around the country, was organized by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group based in Pennsylvania.
Local faith leaders including those from the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations participated in the demonstration.
“We come today … to demand upon our government to respect the right for migrants to seek asylum,” said the Rev. Dr. J. Lee Hill Jr., a local pastor, at a news conference Monday morning. “We come today to demand of our government to end the militarization of border communities. We come today to demand that our government would end immigration detention and deportation and to defund (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection).”
The event also served as a show of support for the large group of Central American asylum seekers who have gathered in Tijuana in recent weeks.
Last month, during a raucous face-off with groups of migrants at the international line in San Diego, U.S. agents fired tear gas into Mexico and made 42 arrests. The Nov. 25 confrontation prompted a five-hour closure of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the western hemisphere.
According to immigration activists, “Love Knows No Borders” demonstrations will continue throughout the week around the country.
— City News Service