Saturday 21 September 2019

US 'hardens' border crossings as migrants arrive

On the road: Migrants queue for buses at La Concha, Mexico. Photo: Alfredo Estrella
On the road: Migrants queue for buses at La Concha, Mexico. Photo: Alfredo Estrella

Maria Verza

The United States has started work to "harden" the border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to prepare for the arrival of the migrant caravan making 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 will still leave 23 lanes open at San Ysidro and 12 at Otay Mesa for the tens of thousands of people who cross daily.

San Ysidro is the busiest border crossing with Mexico, with 110,000 people entering the US every day.

A group of several hundred migrants who have moved ahead of the caravan made it to Tijuana on Tuesday aboard a fleet of buses.

The caravans became a campaign issue in American midterm elections and President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of more than 5,000 troops to help fend off the migrants.

Mr Trump has insinuated, without proof, that criminals or terrorists are in the group.

To the thousands of Central American migrants making their way through Mexico's Pacific coast state of Nayarit, the prospect of meeting a hostile reception is nothing new.

After a month on the road, through three countries, migrants including Maribel (22) from La Ceiba, Honduras, are used to tough conditions.

She was pushing a pram with her one-year-old daughter while her husband pushed another with their three-year-old son along the road from Guadalajara.

"We are well aware of everything Trump has been saying," said Maribel. "Let them close whatever they want to close, but we are going to get through anyway."

Irish Independent

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