Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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First Caravan Arrivals Begin Crossing at Tijuana–San Diego Border

‘Failing to take immediate action … would only encourage additional mass unlawful migration and further overwhelming of the system.’

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Derided by Democrats like Joe Biden during campaign season as being thousands of miles away and reduced to a fearmongering tactic, the caravan of predominantly Central American migrants, as promised, is now at the doorstep of the United States.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a group of 356 arrived by bus in Tijuana, near the California border, on Tuesday and that dozens of others were starting to arrive at other checkpoints.

San Diego’s Fox 5 showed a live-stream video on its Facebook account of some approaching the rusted coastline border fence at the city’s Friendship Park.

Other images from the local media showed border officials scrambling to fortify sections of the fence with barbed wire to deter crossing.

The Union Tribune reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection planned to close three lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and one at the Otay Mesa Port while it installed “port hardening infrastructure equipment” in preparation for the arrivals.

By many estimates, the caravan had swollen to a total of around 14,000 presumed refugee-seekers by late October. No recent estimates were available to determine whether it had shrunken along the way or continued to grow in the past two weeks.

Although Mexican officials had attempted to forestall the trek, offering temporary residency, many reportedly scoffed at the proposal.

As President Donald Trump continued his efforts to make good on a promise to deploy troops to the border, he faced unprecedented resistance from court orders and from the Pentagon, which initially balked at the idea before agreeing to send 5,200 to support border patrols prior to last week’s midterm election.

Counting the national guardsmen already dispatched, more than 7,000 active-duty troops are now set to guard the border through Dec. 15, with the possibility that as many as 15,000 may be sent.

Even as the caravan members arrived, Trump adversaries like retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., continued to criticize the deployment as a political stunt, saying it was unfortunate that the troops—some of whom he said were deployed in Tucson, at least 60 miles from the nearest point of entry, would have to miss their Thanksgiving holiday in order to protect the border.

While efforts to prevent the rock-throwing rabble-rousers from setting foot on U.S. soil were underway, questions also lingered on how to accommodate those who crossed—thus entitling them at minimum to an interrogation and asylum hearing—in the already overstretched tent cities established by Customs and Border Protection.

Migrants would need to wait several weeks before even being admitted for processing, The Union-Tribune reported. Already, the waiting list for asylum-seekers is about 2,500 long.

“If they really cared about addressing this, they wouldn’t be deploying military, they’d be deploying asylum officers to the border,” Erika Pinheiro, an attorney with the group Al Otro Lado, told The Union-Tribune.

Trump has bemoaned what he said is billions of dollars spent annually on the broken asylum process and has dangled the possibility several executive orders to act as deterrents—including the reinstatement of a controversial “zero-tolerance” policy that would permit family separations during processing and a challenge to the 14th Amendment’s “birthright citizenship” entitlements.

Last week, he issued a formal proclamation addressing the mass migration, saying he would suspend asylum eligibility for those who attempt to enter the U.S. unlawfully or without proper documentation.

“Failing to take immediate action to stem the mass migration the United States is currently experiencing and anticipating would only encourage additional mass unlawful migration and further overwhelming of the system,” Trump said.

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