Splintered migrant caravan groups arrive at U.S. border


Asylum-seekers from the first wave of the politically-charged Central American migrant caravan began climbing the United States border fences on Wednesday, after arriving at the northern Mexican city of Tijuana.

Twenty-five asylum seekers were allowed on Monday and 60 more on Tuesday.

United States military forces have reinforced security measures at the country's southern border, laying barbed wire and erecting barricades as hundreds of Central American migrants planning to seek asylum in the country reached one of Mexico's northern-most cities.

With a total of three caravans moving through Mexico including 7,000 to 10,000 migrants in all, questions arose as to how Tijuana would deal with such a huge influx, especially given US moves to tighten border security and make it harder to claim asylum.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that it is closing four lanes at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings - some of the most heavily traveled ports of entry along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The U.S. government said it was starting work Tuesday to "harden" the border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to prepare for the arrival of a migrant caravan leapfrogging its way across western Mexico.

About 400 additional migrants also arrived in Tijuana on Tuesday by bus, a witness told Reuters.

President Donald Trump made the caravan major news in the USA leading up to the election, as he and his supporters in the media warned of an "invasion" at the southern border and urged their base to go out and vote for this reason.

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would travel to the border area Wednesday, his first visit since the military announced that more than 7,000 United States troops would go to the area as the caravan trekked through Mexico.

Migrants have hitched rides on the beds of trucks as they make their way through Mexico towards the USA border. But no other buses showed up and few trucks passed to pick them up, leaving many to walk the 60 miles (90 kilometers) to the state line. Some have married local residents and enrolled in local universities.

Honduran Keisha Kataleia, a member of the LGBTQ community, looks out on Tijuana, Mexico, on November 12, 2018. All of Central America against one, and one against Central America, he said.

They thought other buses would be waiting for them to take them through hurricane-ravaged Nayarit to the neighboring state of Sinaloa, farther north.

The Rev. Miguel Angel Soto, director of the Casa de Migrante en Culiacan, said about 2,000 migrants had arrived in that area.

Rueda was interviewed by phone from Mexico City where he had been participating in a meeting called by Mexico's Interior Ministry to coordinate efforts on the caravan; other attendees included representatives of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, Mexico's Foreign Ministry, worldwide aid groups and city officials from Tijuana and Mexicali. He said the Sinaloa government, the Roman Catholic Church and Escuinapa officials were helping the migrants. He said 24 buses had left Escuinapa on an eight-hour drive to Navojoa in Sonora state. Such a change would not affect the caravan if the migrants requested asylum at a port of entry.

Numerous migrants plan to apply for asylum in the United States, which means waiting, perhaps for days or weeks, to be processed at a port of entry.