California attorney general Xavier Becerra said Wednesday that his office is “monitoring” the use of force against a caravan of migrants and the possible closure of the southern border and considering filing a legal challenge.
“We have been approached by folks who have expressed complaints,” Becerra told Reuters in an interview. “We are monitoring what’s occurring.”
Becerra, a Democrat and former member of Congress, suggested that President Trump’s threat to close the border in response to the arrival of central American caravans might provide a legal avenue to challenge the administration, provided he can demonstrate that the border closure affects a California resident.
“I can’t act unless the rules are on our side,” Becerra stipulated.
Border patrol agents used tear gas to repel hundreds of migrants at the San Ysidro border crossing near Tijuana on Sunday. The migrants rushed the border after breaking off from a protest held to express frustration at the slow pace of asylum application processing.
Some 6,000 migrants remain camped in temporary shelters in Tijuana awaiting asylum.
Trump has vigorously defended the use of tear gas against the migrants, some of whom were filmed hurling rocks and other projectiles at border patrol agents.
“They had to use it; they were being rushed by some very tough people,” Trump said Monday. “And so they used tear gas. Here’s the bottom line: No one’s coming into our country unless they come in legally.”