US

Caravan Migrants Scale Border Fence Near San Diego

REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

As the initial wave of Central American migrants traveling in a caravan streamed into Tijuana on Tuesday, many of them broke from the group and scaled the border fence just south of San Diego’s International Friendship Park.

Video taken by the San Diego Union-Tribune shows dozens of migrants climbing to the top of the barrier, where they waved and whistled at Border Patrol agents standing guard a few hundred feet away.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Border Patrol said it believes some of the people who climbed onto the fences are from the caravan of about 4,000 migrants that has been making its way north through Mexico for the past several weeks, FOX5 San Diego reported.

WATCH:

Tuesday’s scene near Friendship Park was reminiscent of what happened when a similar caravan of migrants arrived in Tijuana in April. In that instance, caravan migrants scrambled to the top of the border fence and waved the national flag of Honduras, the country many had fled just weeks before. (RELATED: Migrants From Central American Caravan Caught Scaling Border Fences)

The latest caravan has been the impetus for the Trump administration’s multi-pronged crackdown on illegal immigration in recent weeks. Characterizing the group as a potential “invasion” of U.S. territory, President Donald Trump ordered thousands of active duty troops to the southwest border and issued a proclamation making ineligible for asylum anyone caught crossing the border illegally.

Critics of the response have accused Trump of ginning up fear of the migrant caravan for political purposes. Others have questioned the necessity of using the U.S. military to guard against the migrants, most of whom are expected to crowd ports of entry in order to apply for asylum.

A few hundred of the caravan migrants who were able to board buses have already arrived in Tijuana, and the bulk of the group is expected to show up over the next few weeks. Officials in Baja California state, where Tijuana is the largest city, say local shelters can accommodate roughly 900 people as they wait for a chance to apply for asylum at a port of entry.

Meanwhile, thousands of migrants — mostly Central Americans like those traveling in the caravan — reach the U.S-Mexico border and attempt to slip across on a weekly basis.

In October, the number of migrants arrested trying to cross the southwest border illegally was about 51,000, or 1,700 per day. More than half of that number were people traveling in family units, according to Customs and Border Protection.

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