U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited Border Field State Park Tuesday to view reinforcements added along the Mexican border in anticipation of a caravan of Central American migrants, saying her agency will do what it takes to prevent illegal crossings.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants' arrival an "avalanche" that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims.
Reinforcements were sent by US President Donald Trump with the goal of helping bolster the border ahead of the expected arrival of caravans of Central American migrants.
The active-duty troops are now serving in Texas, Arizona and California as part of a mission to provide engineering, logistical and transportation support to CBP. The federal government estimates the migrant crowd in Tijuana could soon swell to 10,000.
At one point during the protest, a group of residents tried to rush one of the shelters housing migrants but Mexican police in riot gear held them back. They also complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an "invasion". The border crossing was temporarily closed after a migrant caravan reached towns in the north of Mexico.
U.S. Army Lt. General Jeffrey Buchanan, center, looks on during a tour of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, Nov. 9, 2018.
The big question is whether, once they are all together, they will try to cross over as they did from Guatemala into Mexico - by force - or opt instead for the long and tedious process of requesting asylum in the US.
Hundreds more are said to be making their way to the city.
Trump administration officials, who have portrayed the migrant caravans as a threat to the United States, have said there were as many as 500 criminals in the groups heading northward, but they haven't said what the crimes were and said they could not reveal the source of the number because they were protecting intelligence sources. "Migrants at the border can be processed orderly and safely as asylum seekers - it's what we've always done". Since 2016, thousands of Haitians who also tried to get to the US ended up settling here, while at the same time, Tijuana has taken in thousands of Mexicans deported from the United States.
"Isn't it ironic that large Caravans of people are marching to our border wanting United States of America asylum because they are fearful of being in their country - yet they are proudly waving. their country's flag". It took three hours for people to get out of Paradise, and a grand jury later told city officials they needed to create additional evacuation routes, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under the draw-down order, the first soldiers to return will be engineering teams, including those in the Rio Grande Valley who've been placing razor and concertina wire at USA ports of entry. Roughly 300 gathered to protest, many wearing the national team's soccer jersey and waving Mexican flags.
By contrast, Gastelum said, the caravan of Central Americans, "had arrived all of sudden, with a lot of people - not all. but a lot - were aggressive and cocky". Trump said that up to 15,000 could be deployed.