“I came here for one reason, and that’s because there is a lot of violence in Honduras,” Maria Meza, 35, who was waiting with her five children for a confirmation of their asylum request.
“We never thought they were going to fire these bombs where there were children because there were lots of children,” said Meza.
She and hundreds of other Central American migrants were blocked by Mexican police and staged a peaceful protest in front of the border.
Groups of migrants broke off and headed toward the border fence, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers gathered on the other side, backed by U.S. military police, San Diego police and the California Highway Patrol.
Shortly after, U.S. border agents shot tear gas into Mexico and U.S. security force helicopters shot rubber bullets at the unarmed asylum seekers while they were still in Mexican territory.
Three tear gas canisters shot from the U.S. side landed around Meza and her children, who range in age from toddlers to teenagers, she said in an interview at a Tijuana migrant shelter.
“The first thing I did was grab my children. I was scared, and I thought I was going to die with them because of the gas,” Meza said, adding that one of her children nearly fainted after a canister landed near him.
“It wasn’t right, they know we are human beings, the same as them,” said Meza.