Migrants defy Trump at Mexico border as US forces flex muscles
Hundreds of Central American migrants staged a boisterous demonstration on the USMexico border Friday, screaming for US President Donald Trump to let them in as US soldiers and riot police put on a menacing show of force.
The increased tension over the presence of a thousandsstrong migrant caravan came as Trump marked Thanksgiving Day by threatening to close the border if he thinks Mexico has lost control of it.
Vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the busy San Ysidro crossing came to a halt for 40 minutes as dozens of US police wearing helmets and holding rifles formed a line facing the Mexican side of the frontier. Separately, riot police rehearsed deployment movements. US Customs and Border Protection called all of this a “large-scale readiness exercise.”
US soldiers in khaki-colored uniforms set off rockets that exploded with a pungent-smelling white smoke. Helicopters hovered overhead.
Trump has already deployed nearly 6,000 troops along the border and on Friday he threatened to go even further.
“If we find that it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or where people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control,” Trump told reporters, before firing a warning to Mexico. “The whole border. I mean the whole border,” he said, adding that “Mexico will not be able to sell their cars into the United States.”
At another nearby border crossing called El Chaparral, Central American migrants from the caravan emptying into Tijuana defied the president with a loud rally.
“Let’s go to the border! There we can pressure Trump. We are only wasting time and strength at the shelter,” Honduran Carlos Rodriguez yelled into a bullhorn.
“Today is a special day. It is Thanksgiving... They are not going to lynch us,” he said, to loud applause and screams.