US Preparing ‘Hard Stance’ at Southern Border, Migrants Approach
Tuesday, the US government said it was starting work to “harden” the border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to prepare for the arrival of a invading migrant caravan leapfrogging its way across western Mexico.
Customs and Border Protection announced it was closing four lanes at the busy San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry in San Diego, California.
It said the closures are needed “to install and pre-position port hardening infrastructure equipment in preparation for the migrant caravan and the potential safety and security risk that it could cause.”
The invading migrant caravans became a campaign issue in US Congressional midterm elections and US President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of military troops to the border to help halt them.
The thousands of Central American migrants left shelters in Guadalajara early Tuesday and were taken by bus to a highway tollbooth to wait for rides to their next destination.
They thought other buses would be waiting for them to take them through hurricane-ravaged Nayarit to the neighboring state of Sinaloa, further North.
No other buses showed up leaving them to walk.
Most appeared intent on taking the Pacific coast route northward to the border city of Tijuana, which was still about 1,350 miles away. The migrants have come about 1,500 miles since they started out in Honduras around 13 October.
The caravan previously averaged only about 30 miles a day, but the migrants are now covering daily distances of 185 miles or more, because they are relying on hitchhiking, not walking.
Migrants have hopped aboard different kinds of trucks, regardless of comfort or safety. Some have stacked themselves 4 levels high on a truck intended for pigs. Monday, a few boarded a truck carrying a shipment of coffins, while others squeezed into a truck with narrow cages used for transporting chickens.
Many, especially men, travel on open platform trailers used to transport steel and cars or get in the freight containers of 18-wheeler’s.
A 2nd caravan began arriving in Mexico City Monday. By Tuesday, over 1,000 migrants had set up camp at the same Mexico City sports complex the larger caravan left Saturday. A 3rd caravan is now heading toward the capital.
Many say they are fleeing rampant poverty, gang violence and political instability primarily in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Mexico has offered refuge, asylum or work visas, and its government said Monday that 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them during the 45-day application process for more permanent status. Some 533 migrants had requested a voluntary return to their countries, the government reported.