Secretary Mattis to visit US-Mexico border


With a small group of Central American caravan members already in Tijuana, thousands of others continued their push to the USA border on Monday, as shelters, church leaders and government authorities in Baja California braced for their arrival. The plan is for many to turn themselves in at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and ask the US government for asylum.

Around 4,800 United States soldiers were deployed to the border with Mexico, the Pentagon announced, saying it could not give a price tag for the operation Democrats decry as political maneuvring from President Donald Trump.

Trump also followed through on his threat to issue a presidential proclamation barring migrants caught crossing into the US illegally from being eligible to claim asylum in America.

A caravan consisting of several thousand migrants from Central American countries has recently resumed movement towards the USA border after a brief stop in the Mexican capital.

So far, more than 7,000 troops have been ordered to deploy to the southwest border across Texas, Arizona, and California. He said the state government, the Roman Catholic Church and Escuinapa officials were helping the migrants.

From Sonora, some migrants said they had already caught buses from to Tijuana. By early Wednesday, another 1,100 migrants from the third and last caravan had also arrived at the stadium.

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For years, thousands of mainly Central American immigrants have embarked on long journeys through Central America and Mexico to reach the United States.

"We'll have to see, we'll have to see what the future holds...the first thing that we brief is what is the threat against the border - people who try to violate the border", said the defense secretary to a reporter.

It is unclear whether the two caravans would merge or when they would set out on the road north.

The migrants insist they are simply seeking a better future away from Central America's "Northern Triangle" - El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, poor countries where gang violence has fueled some of the highest murder rates in the world.

Customs and Border Protection officials will shut down several lanes of traffic from Tijuana into San Diego beginning Tuesday morning for what the agency called the "potential safety and security risk" posed by a caravan of Central American migrants. Some 533 migrants had requested a voluntary return to their countries, the government reported. It is unlikely all of the caravan would cross the southern border in one day, but even if they did, the number is not expected to overwhelm border agents.

Trump turned the caravan into a hot-button issue ahead of last week's U.S. midterm elections, claiming - without providing evidence - it included "hardened criminals" and "unknown Middle Easterners" who were about to "assault" the United States.