Hundreds of illegal migrants at US-Mexico border

A Federal Police officer asks Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US to step off a truck for safety reasons near Pijijiapan southern Mexico

What are 5200 troops going to do at the border? Maybe not much

It's a figure that falls well short of President Donald Trump's previous claim that the Pentagon could send between 10,000 and 15,000 service members to help deal with a group of migrants heading toward the U.S. through Mexico. He ran quickly back to the fence.

Central Americans traveling in a migrant caravan towards the United US, arrive in Tijuana, Mexico, on Thursday.

On Tuesday, a couple of dozen migrants scaled the steel border fence to celebrate their arrival, chanting "Yes, we could!" and one man dropped over to the USA side briefly as border agents watched from a distance.

The bulk of the main caravan appeared to be about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) from the border, but was moving hundreds of miles per day. They began on the same day that a group of 357 migrants arrived in the border city of Tijuana.

Tijuana could also face a strain, with migrant shelters there already at or near capacity.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, visited U.S. troops posted at the border in Texas and said the deployment of military personnel ordered by President Donald Trump provides good training for war, despite criticism that the effort is a waste of taxpayer money and a political stunt. Saying he meant to wait for thousands more in the caravan to arrive, Salinas said he hoped to jump the border fence in a large group at the same time, overwhelming Border Patrol agents.

A Central American migrant breastfeeds her son as they wait in line for a meal at a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. But all of about a dozen people interviewed Wednesday said they would first wait for others from the migrant caravan to arrive and gather more information.

That number included around 80 LGBT migrants that Newsweek reported earlier this week had split with the caravan in Mexico City after allegedly facing discrimination from its members.

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

The migrants are mostly fleeing poverty and violence in Central America's "Northern Triangle" - El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where brutal gang violence has fuelled some of the highest murder rates in the world.

In addition to the caravan at or nearing the border, two others have made their way to Mexico City with more than 2,000 people.

More than 7,000 Hondurans who had been making their way toward the US border voluntarily returned to their country, Honduran officials reported.

Customs and Border Protection officers from Laredo and surrounding areas are boarding a plane to California.

That still leaves a substantial path for the tens of thousands of people who cross daily: Twenty-three lanes remain open at San Ysidro and 12 at Otay Mesa.

San Ysidro is the border's busiest crossing, with about 110,000 people entering the US every day.

San Ysidro is the border's busiest crossing, with about 110,000 people entering the US every day.

Maria Verza contributed from Escuinapa, Mexico.

Latest News