Migrants from Central America and journalists are hit by tear gas after hundreds tried to illegally cross the Mexico border into the U.S. in Tijuana, Mexico. Picture: Adrees Latif/Reuters.

Washington - US border patrol agents have arrested 42 Central American migrants who crossed the southern frontier from Mexico, Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said on Monday.

"Forty-two people crossed the border and were arrested. To be completely frank there were numerous people who actually made it across the border," Scott, of the San Diego Sector Border Patrol, told CNN, adding that the majority of those detained were men. 

They were among a group of migrants mostly driven back -- under tear gas and rubber bullet fire -- when they tried to rush the border on Sunday from a camp where about 5,000, mostly from Honduras, are staying in hope of eventually becoming US residents.

"We're in the process of building the new border wall here but we don't have it completed. There were sections that had dilapidated border wall that was made out of scrap metal the military gave us," Scott added.

"The group breached a couple of sections of that, actually tore down one small section. They started to rush across and that's another time they starting assaulting our agents and we were able to hold them back using riot techniques."

AFP