On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security closed the nation’s busiest border crossing in response to activity by members of the so-called migrant caravan. At the San Ysidro entry point, which is just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, there were large numbers of the migrants who were preparing to “rush the border” and overwhelm American border defense personnel. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted on Monday, “This morning, all of San Ysidro’s northbound lanes were temporarily closed to initiate additional port hardening efforts,” because “a large numberr of caravan migrants were preparing to rush the border.”

Nielsen went on to write on Twitter, “Unfortunately, some members of the caravan are purposely causing disruptions at our border ports of entry.” She added, “There is a legal and illegal way to enter the U.S. We have deployed additional forces to protect our border. We will enforce all our laws.”

While posting photos of additional razor wire and barriers being added to border defenses, Nielsen wrote later that the Border Patrol has reopened some northbound lanes at the international entry point. The port of entry was closed for a little more than three hours. Nielsen praised the Department of Defense for its swift action to assist the civilian border security agencies. 

In October, migrants from Central American rushed  the international border between Guatemala and Mexico at Ciudad Hidalgo in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, casting aside riot police and immigration authorities. Some agreed to be taken to welcoming centers to be processed for asylum, while thousands of others decided to continue northward to the U.S. While most of the migrants are from Central America, at least six Bangladeshi migrants were recently rounded up while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. 
 

In a separate tweet, the U.S. Army gave credit to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7 for strengthening the border defenses at the nearby Otay Mesa port of entry.  

At about 3:15 a.m. local time, border officials halted all northbound traffic after receiving reports about the potential rush by migrants. The border remained closed until about 6:25 a.m., when 16 lanes were reopened to northbound traffic. Ten lanes remained closed. In a statement from the Border Patrol, spokesman Pete Flores said that his agency “will not allow for the unlawful entry of persons into the United States, at or between our ports of entry.” Flores said, “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.”

“In the early morning hours, CBP officials received reports of groups of persons from the caravan gathering in the city of Tijuana for a possible attempt or attempts to rush illegally through the port of entry instead of presenting themselves as required to a CBP officer,” the agency said in a statement. “CBP officials suspended operations to safely place impediments at the port of entry that would restrict access to a large group attempting to run through the border crossing. After the CBP response at San Ysidro, no activity materialized at the border crossing.”

 

President Donald Trump criticized news reports about border crossers, tweeting “Fake News is showing old footage of people climbing over our Ocean Area Fence.” Providing a photo of newly installed razor wire on a border fence, the president added, “This is what it really looks like -- no climbers anymore under our Administration!”

 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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