Around 150 Central Americans tried to make the crossing near the town of Tijuana to the south of California on New Year’s Day.
One US official described the migrants as a “violent mob”.
It comes as the US federal government remains shut down as President Donald Trump and Congress argue over funding for his proposed border wall.
The US said security forces used tear gas after migrants threw rocks, and that they were deliberately aiming upwind of rock-throwers who they say hindered agents from helping migrants who were passing children over razor wire.
But the Associated Press reports rocks were only thrown after agents fired tear gas, and a Reuters witness says one migrant was struck by what seemed to be a tear gas canister.
The linked story has many powerful photographs from the scene, but I prefer an appropriate historical choice, that of the SS St. Louis.
Remember that Jewish refugees were denied entry to the U.S. in 1939 based on the same spurious racism that dominates our immigration policy today.