The first wave of the Central American migrant caravan has arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, and participants were seen scaling the U.S.-Mexico border fence on Tuesday.
San Diego’s KSWB-TV reported several people scaled and sat on top of the fence dividing San Diego’s International Friendship Park from Tijuana.
Others crawled through openings in the fence onto U.S. soil before quickly returning as Border Patrol agents approached.
The Border Patrol released a statement saying some of those at the fence are members of the migrant caravan, The Washington Examiner reported.
The first wave of migrants from the Central American caravan began climbing fences after arriving at the U.S. border.https://t.co/a6nxxj2z5M
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 14, 2018
U.S. Customs and Border Protection also released a statement on Monday indicating it would be closing lanes at two ports of entry in San Diego to “pre-position port hardening infrastructure equipment in preparation for the migrant caravan and the potential safety and security risk that it could cause.”
“CBP has been and will continue to prepare for the potential arrival of thousands of people migrating in a caravan heading towards the border of the United States,” said Pete Flores, director of CBP’s field operations in San Diego. “These preparations include training exercises, deploying additional CBP personnel, and partnering with the U.S. military to harden our ports of entry and the border area between those legal crossings into the U.S.”
The move is no doubt in response to how the caravan pushed through barriers and Mexican law enforcement personnel at the Mexico-Guatemala border last month, when the caravan was denied entry.
KSWB reported that 1,300 U.S. Marines in California will be assisting Border Patrol officers in strengthening the border as part of “Operation Secure Line.”
“(T)roops are tasked with tightening security, including installing barbed wire along the wall to make it more difficult to cross. Troops will also be providing medical support, military police and air support,” according to the news outlet.
“Anybody that jumps the border fence or crosses between the ports of entry will be arrested and they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That includes this group,” U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said.
At San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, more than 100,000 people cross the border legally every day.
Scott told KSWB last week the detention facility to process undocumented migrants at San Ysidro holds 300 people and is at capacity.
“Mexico has already offered asylum to these individuals,” he said of the caravan. “Your asylum claim here, unless it’s fear from Mexico, is not going to probably go well.”
On Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order requiring any asylum seekers to come through a port of entry.
Regarding the migrants, Flores said, “We will not deny access to the ports of entry, but we may ask undocumented persons to wait until we have the capacity to process them.”
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