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First caravan migrants reach US border while thousands more lag behind

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caravan migrants
Central
American migrants line up for a meal at a shelter in Tijuana,
Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.

Associated Press/Gregory Bull

  • The first groups of caravan migrants have reached the
    US-Mexico border and are staying in shelters in Tijuana, Mexico.
  • Thousands more lag far behind the initial group, and Tijuana
    officials expect them to arrive within weeks.
  • The US government has responded by shutting down lanes at the
    San Diego ports of entry and setting up barriers and wire.
  • The roughly 5,200 troops that the Trump administration
    deployed ahead of the caravan are still in Texas — hundreds of
    miles away from where the caravan is arriving.

The first groups of caravan migrants reached the United States’
southern border this week, hundreds of miles ahead of the main
caravan of thousands of other migrants traveling north through
Mexico.

Roughly 800 migrants have reached Tijuana, The
New York Times
reported on Wednesday.

The US Customs and Border Protection agency has responded by
attempting to “harden” San Diego’s border with Tijuana, shutting
down four lanes at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry.
The agency also said in a statement that US troops are putting up
concertina wire, barriers, and fencing.

Officials in Tijuana have arranged shelter beds for the migrants
already there, but city officials have expressed some alarm over
the rapidly growing number of migrants arriving.

The director if the Tijuana Municipal Migration Affairs Office
told The Washington Post there
is only shelter space for 900 migrants, though they expect at
least 3,000 more to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

“We are expecting more of these little groups, but we don’t know
right now exactly what we are going to do with the big caravan,”
César Palencia told The Post.

‘To be determined’


migrant caravan
Central
American migrants and others look on along the border structure,
in Tijuana, Mexico Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.

Associated Press/Gregory Bull

The migrants are largely from Central American countries and say
they plan to seek asylum in the United States, though the
American ports of entry are letting in only a few migrants at a
time to make claims.

Read more:
The Trump administration just moved to restrict its asylum system
as migrant caravans head toward the US

It’s still unclear when the main group of migrants will arrive,
as many are traveling through the Mexican states of Jalisco and
Nayarit. Though the smaller groups of migrants that have
splintered off have managed to arrange bus transportation, the
larger groups haven’t moved as quickly.

Meanwhile, roughly 1,500
miles away
, troops stationed at the US-Mexico border in south
Texas met with top Trump administration officials on Wednesday to
discuss their mission.

In anticipation of the caravan, roughly 5,200 troops were
deployed to the area, where they have been erecting barriers and
putting up wires — even though the caravan is arriving at the
opposite end of the country.

During a live-streamed meeting with Defense Secretary
Jim Mattis, one soldier asked about the short- and long-term
plans for the mission. Mattis responded that the latter was “to
be determined.”

“When you’re in something like this,” he said, “It’s dynamic,
it’s unpredictable. We’ll have to see.”

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