It's yet another incident where you'll see what you brought to it -- some people I know were horrified that the U.S. used tear gas on refugees while others were concerned about an attempted invasion.
There is an actual procedure for people seeking asylum in the United States. It doesn't include climbing a border fence. It is slow -- a few hundred a week at the San Ysidro port of entry where many of the marchers have gathered and where the attempted illegal crossing and tear-gassing took place. This is a governmental process, a bit more involved than getting a driver's license, and those wheels turn slowly.
The miracle is that they turn at all. The MS St. Louis -- carrying over 600 refugees fleeing Nazi Germany -- was refused by Cuba and the United States in 1939; about a third of the passengers were eventually allowed into Great Britain, and as for the rest, "Two hundred fifty-four passengers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands after that date died during the Holocaust. Most of these people were murdered in the killing centers of Auschwitz and Sobibór; the rest died in internment camps, in hiding or attempting to evade the Nazis."
Things like that are why there are laws and international treaties on the granting of asylum to refugees. Those laws aren't perfect but they're a good-faith effort, a balancing act between national security and helping innocents get out of trouble.
NPR has a fairly neutral round-up (if you make allowance for labels: are these self-described asylum-seekers "migrants?") of what did happen at the border, what led up to it and what might happen in the future.
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