US 'hardening' Tijuana border crossing ahead of migrant caravan

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent searches for undocumented immigrants during a helicopter patrol over the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 6 2018 in McAllen Texas

"Deploying troops to our own border for no national security reason is one of the biggest scandals of this Presidency", Schatz said in a tweet on Sunday, referring to the deployment being carried out in anticipation of the arrival of several caravans of Central American migrants heading towards the USA border.

On Thursday, the group voted to proceed from Mexico City, where they'd been gathered several days, to Tijuana, opting for the longer but less unsafe route.

Hundreds of Central American migrants planning to seek asylum in the United States moved toward the country's border with Mexico on Tuesday as United States military reinforced security measures, laying barbed wire and erecting barricades. "Let them close whatever they want to close, but we are going to get through anyway".

By late afternoon, the first migrants arrived on the outskirts of Guadalajara, and buses took them to an auditorium where they would sleep for the night.

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Indeed, migrants have hopped aboard so many different kinds of trucks that they are no longer surprised by anything.

Most appear intent on taking the Pacific coast route northward to the border city of Tijuana, which is still about 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) away. The migrants have come about 1,200 miles since they started out in Honduras around October 13. On Monday, a few boarded a truck carrying a shipment of coffins, while others squeezed into a truck with narrow cages used for transporting chickens. It is unlikely all of the caravan would cross the southern border in one day, but even if they did, the number is not expected to overwhelm border agents. Several thousand men, women and children are travelling by train, truck, car, and foot. By Tuesday, over 1,000 migrants had set up camp at the same Mexico City sports complex the larger caravan left Saturday.

The caravan, which primarily includes people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, began with about 120 people and grew to about 7,000 at its peak, United Nations figures indicate.

Mexico has offered refuge, asylum or work visas to the migrants, and its government said 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them while they wait for the 45-day application process for a more permanent status. "These preparations include training exercises, deploying additional CBP personnel, and partnering with the US military to harden our ports of entry and the border area between those legal crossings into the U.S". Some 533 migrants had requested a voluntary return to their countries, the government reported.

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