U.S. Customs and Border Protection closes several lanes Tuesday at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry in preparation for the arrival of the migrant caravan.
Three northbound vehicle lanes at San Ysidro and one lane at Otay Mesa was closed to install, according to the announcement, “port hardening infrastructure equipment in preparation for the migrant caravan and the potential safety and security risk that it could cause.”
“CBP has been and will continue to prepare for the potential arrival of thousands of people migrating in a caravan heading towards the border of the United States,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations in San Diego. “These preparations include training exercises, deploying additional CBP personnel, and partnering with the U.S. military to harden our ports of entry and the border area between those legal crossings into the U.S.”
Approximately 1,100 Marines from Camp Pendleton have been installing concertina wire and barricades.
President Trump has railed against the caravan of refugees, estimated to number between 3,000 and 6,000, describing it as an “invasion” and calling out the military. Most of the people in the caravan are 1,500 miles away, but several hundred are nearing Tijuana.
San Ysidro has about 17 lanes and Otay Mesa around 12. The CBP said persons traveling northbound into the United States should anticipate increased wait times because of the lane closures.
Customs and Border Protection officials recommend that motorists crossing from Tijuana into San Diego should expect increased wait times because of the lane closures. Local news footage Tuesday afternoon showed long lines and severe traffic due to the closures.
The closures are expected to last “until sometime after people in the caravan arrive to the border,” the agency said.
On Thursday, a group of 5,000 migrants, mostly from Honduras, voted to proceed from Mexico City to Tijuana. It was unclear when the bulk of the caravan would reach the U.S. border.
President Donald Trump has vowed to prevent the caravan from entering the country, even threatening to shut down border crossings entirely.
Updated 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2018.
— City Nesw Service contributed to this report
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