U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited Border Field State Park Tuesday.'
She viewed the military 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. Customs and Border Protection, which DHS oversees, and military troops stationed in the area have been reinforcing border fencing with concertina wire, jersey barriers and other barricades since the beginning of November.
Traffic at the border has also tightened because of the preparations, with CBP officials temporarily closing northbound lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry early Monday morning.During her visit Tuesday,
Nielsen echoed President Trump's disagreement with reports that the migrants in and traveling to Tijuana have legitimate asylum claims and are mostly women. She said at least 500 of the migrants heading for the border are known criminals, although she did not say how she arrived at that figure.
Monday morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials shut down all northbound lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Monday to add more concrete barriers and concertina wire.
The closure began around 3:15 a.m., with CBP halting all processing of northbound vehicle traffic and some pedestrian traffic at the border. Some northbound lanes reopened around 6:25 a.m., although 10 traffic lanes remained blocked. People traveling through the border checkpoint were advised to anticipate delays.``The lanes were closed to install additional port hardening materials at the port of entry, to include jersey barriers and concertina wire, to prepare for the potential arrival of thousands of people migrating in a caravan heading towards the border of the United States,'' according to a statement from the federal agency.
On Nov. 8, 1,100 Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to support border security, mainly by installing concertina wire and pre-positioning jersey barriers, barricades and fencing under Operation Secure Line.``CBP will not allow for the unlawful entry of persons into the United States, at or between our ports of entry,'' said Pete Flores, director of CBP field operations in San Diego. ``Waiting until a large group of persons mass at the border to attempt an illegal crossing is too late for us. We need to be prepared prior to when they arrive at the border crossing.
''Members of the caravan have been arriving in Tijuana for just over a week, with around 3,000 already at the border. Some residents of the area have been protesting against the caravan and the supposed burden they're placing on local shelter services.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has warned that the city would not be able to handle many more of the Central American migrants, but some reports have suggested the caravan's could total 10,000 migrants in Tijuana.
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