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U.S.-Mexico border crossing in San Ysidro reopened after shootout

All lanes at the nation's busiest border crossing reopened this morning after at least two U.S. agents attempted to stop smugglers from speeding through the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Tuesday by firing their weapons at three vans loaded with suspected illegal immigrants.

Three people in the vans suffered injuries and a man in a nearby car also was injured in the unusually brazen smuggling attempt Tuesday, U.S. authorities said. A total of 76 people inside the vans were arrested.

The San Diego Police Department declared the port a crime scene and shuttered the 24-lane border crossing to vehicular traffic. Northbound traffic at the checkpoint, where about 40,000 cars cross daily from Mexico, was backed up into Tijuana for miles as police investigated.

By 8 p.m., 12 lanes had reopened, and the rest were opened at 4 a.m. today, said Angelica De Cima, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection.

Smugglers on occasion attempt to run the border crossing, but rarely in such a coordinated fashion or with so many suspected illegal immigrants.

The vans, one following the other, tried to speed past a booth as a Customs and Border Protection agent checked the first vehicle's license, according to a law enforcement statement. Officials deployed a runner-alert system: An alarm blared and gates and metal barriers automatically blocked exits out of the secondary inspection area, which was already full of cars. The vans attempted to find an open lane but ended up stuck in traffic, the police statement said.

At least one Customs and Border Protection agent and one agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement fired at the driver of the third van as he sped toward them, the statement said. According to police, a second Customs and Border Protection agent also opened fire, but De Cima could not immediately confirm that.

Police said two people suffered gunshot wounds: the 31-year-old man who was driving the third van and one of his passengers, a 42-year-old man. Another passenger, a 37-year-old man, suffered a head injury and cuts when the van struck a vehicle while trying to escape. All three were taken to hospital along with a 30-year-old man who was a passenger in the vehicle struck by the fleeing van, police said.

Two of the three van drivers were arrested Tuesday, but the third fled back into Mexico, police said. A total of 74 suspected illegal immigrants were detained from the vans.

Police and federal agents worked through the night, interviewing suspects and witnesses. The investigation continues this morning and has been extended into Mexico, U.S. authorities said.

-- Alexandra Zavis

Comments () | Archives (27)

I simply can't fathom why we have such a problem with Mexicans entering our country. We truly are a country of bigots. I employ Mexican labor for $2 less per hour than I have to pay Americans. And they work twice as hard. It's just racist not to let these kind-hearted people into our country and treat them like real citizens.
Open the borders!

Good work border guys!

I like all the information. Well presented, EXCEPT for the choice of the word "shootout". I guess, it's an improvement over "gunfight", but it's still inaccurate. Why is it so hard to reflect what happened? Are you looking for more readers? Or are you adding your own bias? The readers can only speculate...

I simply belief that in this beautiful country there ara alot of racist people with and without power who hate other human beings. And in reality we all are illegal except native Americans. Don't forget we came and killed them off. Come on, it's time to realize that we all are humans annd that the color of our blood is the same and we all feel. Please stop the hate!

Please pay Mexicans the same you pay Americans. By not doing that, you are not being fair, and not treating them like real citizens. They work our fields, they cook our foods, and clean our houses. The majority of Mexicans, and Central Americans, come here to work and provide a better future for their families. Please be fair,

I guess the economy must be recovering if they want to get here this badly. Jobs for them must be opening up again.

But hopefully, this will teach the human smugglers that this sort of invasion tactic will not work. And it is good that the government did something right as we were ready for this sort of attack against our borders. But you wonder what they were thinking because even if they did make it, there would have been cars and choppers after them in seconds anyway.

Landon Bales, you are a TRAITOR to the nation! No explanation is sufficient for your witlessness. You just won't grasp it, no matter what anyone says. Meanwhile, you turn illegal immigration to a larger profit margin for yourself. Nice.

To Landon Bales: You are one of the reasons it is so hard for honest hard working Americans to find work currently. I hope your use/abuse of illegal immigrants is investigated.

Our country has a hard enough time taking care of its own poor and destitute people, Mexico should step up to the plate and actually take care if its own poor as well.

Customs and Border Protection does not have "agents." They have "officers;" the writer should be careful with his terminology. (NOTE: Border Patrol agents are part of CBP, but these officers were not Border Patrol agents who patrol away from the Port of Entry).

Next could be a train load of border casher. What happens if we have open borders? 5.7 billion people will flood into this country. I believe there are rules in this country and all other countries.

This is to Mr. Landon Bales. Do you want Mexico to give up it's sovereignty? If you insist on "opening the border", it necessarily entails Mexico to no longer be a sovereign, independent nation. If the Mexican government and people want to give up all their lands and rights as a nation, then I wouldn't mind "opening the borders" as you suggest. If all of Mexico becomes the U.S., well, then, let's open them borders!

This is not an issue about racism, immigration or open borders. Lets stick to the story...3 vans filled with people attempted to run through the entry lanes at a port of entry. 1) this was a very dangerous attempt to enter the U.S. endangering federal officers & people in the secondary area 2) you must present yourself for inspection at every port of entry that is the law of this country no matter what your citizenship is 3) alien smuggling is a serious crime and a national security issue, people do try to come and work for their families but there is also ex-cons trying to re-enter, and people that want to harm the united states. Its a fact! The issue here is that this was a brazen attempt and also a dangerous crime these drivers comitted, with more than one charge they will be facing. If you want to visit the U.S. apply for a visa there are many types for all kinds of needs to go to school, work and visit.

All born in the US are "native American"; the original "native Americans" did not come to an unoccupied land and move in. The original tribes were destroyed by the later arrivals. Say what you will, but you cannot alter history.

However, this is a dead issue because you cannot alter the fact that we are here and we are Americans.

A country is defined by its culture; there is no country in recorded history that has allowed multi-culturalism and survived, unless the country was a dictatorship; witness the Soviet Union and Red China...held together only under threat of the central government.

The US will go down to ruin if we continue to entertain the culturally suicidal notion that we can accommodate large numbers of immigrants whom do not share our national values.

Why do we insist on doing what has been done before and failed?

Hey Landon Bales, why don't you open up your business in Mexico if you like cheap labor? If your business is in the US it's more then likely operating using illegal aliens and I hope the adminstrators of this site turn your ip over to law enforcement so that you can be investigated for hiring illegal aliens.

If the US is a country of bigots, then im a bigot.

Great work Border men!!! I read the comments and who said anything about racism? This is about laws which we Americans try to abide by. Why should pay taxes for these illegal immigrants? Guess who's paying for their kids to attend school here as well? So wake up Americans! This is NOT about Racism! We are still the same country who welcomes all but how can you respect those who neglect to respect our country, our laws!

If you truly believe that these poor people are victims of our immigration system then tell that to all the legal residents from other countries who come into the U.S. legally and have to compete with illegals who take jobs away from everybody. Contrary to popular belief, many of these jobs are not picking just picking fruit and vegetables.

So are the agents going to jail for shooting??

We are a nation of Laws so if you're illegal you have no right to be here. If anyone wants to live and prosper in this country, they should do so by applying legally and when they become legal, do not abuse the system.

Let's all work and be productive instead of working the system but availing of all the "FREE" this country has to offer. this is not only true about the Hispanics, it's true to every different nationals entering this country.

If we have 10 million of unemployed, why don't we let them do the work the illegals are doing?

Give me a break, Tess. Most Americans don't respect the laws of the country. They try to cheat the system however they can...whether its illegally driving in the carpool lane, cheating on their taxes etc. I'm sick and tired of your bigoted people using the excuse that the reason your don't want illegals here is because they broke ONE law by coming into this country illegally. Which, I'd like to point out, is not a felony but a mere civil offense. I'm sure of you non-cultured people have relatives that have committed felonies. People in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks. Just admit it already...you're xenophobic & don't like the fact that you're kids might become bilingual one day.

LANDON BALES - it's racist to employ Mexicans only so you can get cheaper labor, not to prevent illegal immigration.

If the vans were filled with Al Queda cell members, nobody would be complaining about CBP having a GUNFIGHT with these criminals at the border. Our guys are there protecting us on a daily basis against ALL threats and they reacted exactly how they were trained. Kudos to our Law Enforcement Officers who were involved and thankfully no innocent people were injured.

Shut up you kool aid drinkers....If you want to pay for all the illegals go ahead and let them stay at your house. Just justify your stupity to the families who have lost love ones from these illegals. And the next time you need to go to the emergency room and it takes you 5 hours to get waited on because every illegal with a hang nail is in there, thank your progressive thinking.

Once again incorrect reporting only to make Mexico look bad HELLO!!!!

The Russian's long ago closed their southern border to chinese trying to escape to a better life.
They are deathly afraid the chinese will simply march north, and take over their country, so they've stationed 800 tank divisions along their sourthern border, and backed it up with tactical nukes. And they even told the Chinese not to try.
Are the Russians just bigots too? Or are they just smarter than us...
The Saudi's are planning a ring of double fencing, with cameras, dogs, and a quick reaction helicopter topped security office every hundred miles, completely circling the country... and they're using our oil money to build it. Bigots!
A country without a border, is not a country, and what good is a standing army that can't protect it's own borders? Al Quida was found living within twenty miles of the southern border.
There are methods to legally enter this country, on the books right now. And they work just fine.
By the way - Mexico incarcerates illegals in their country for five years. Don't get caught in Mexico without papers.
I want both borders closed, caulked and actively patrolled by the Military. (Those boys in green make me sleep better at night and it's their actual primary job anyway...)
Overstays get sent home to re-apply, one warning that's it - but if you cross that border illegally, you are forever barred from re-entry - I'll vote for that, and you don't have to be brown, I'd deport Smurfs.
Now that's comprehensive reform!

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