The first group of 357 migrants traveling with the caravan has arrived in the Mexican city of Tijuana, south of San Diego.
Migrants were seen celebrating at the beach portion of the border where an 18-foot fence extends 300 feet into the ocean, chanting, “Yes, we could!”
Various videos show the migrants sitting on top of the fence, and the Associated Press reports that one migrant even jumped over the fence into U.S. territory briefly before climbing back over into the Mexican side as border agents watched from a distance.
Border Patrol public affairs officer Tekae Michael told The Daily Wire that border patrol agents are remaining vigilant and monitoring the situation, saying, “We’re monitoring it closely; we have an increased presence in the area including support of the military.”
Michael also said that jumping over the fence in front of border patrol agents is a tactic used to “bait” border patrol agents, adding, “While yes, they did enter illegally and that is breaking the law, if they run right back over into Mexico, we may or may not send agents depending on the level of risk of assault.”
Michael added that if the migrant ran further into U.S. territory, the migrant would have been apprehended by border patrol if they could do so safely.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis visited the troops deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border, who now number more than 5,900.
According to Military Times, Mattis discussed the sensitivities of the operation with reporters, including his instructions to border forces to avoid using the word “secure.”
“‘Secure’ in military terms means one thing. It’s subject to a whole lot of other interpretations understandably,” Mattis said. “I said, ‘talk in terms people understand. It’s their country. It’s their border.’”
He also said this was the reasoning behind the Department of Defense dropping the name “Operation Faithful Patriot,” and instead using “border support.”
“I do not want to put this mission in some arcane military terms if what we’re doing is laying wire,” Mattis said. “I want to talk to the American people, because this is a highly-political visible issue.”
AP also reports that the head of migrant services in Tijuana, Cesar Palencia Chavez, said the migrants initially refused to be taken to shelters because they all wanted to stay together in one shelter despite shelters being designed for smaller groups.
The migrants later agreed to be taken after their trip to the border at the beach and were taken to shelters in groups of 30 or 40.
An additional 7,000 to 10,000 migrants are expected to arrive, but most are still up to 1,000 miles away.
A November report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that there are “hundreds of convicted criminals or known gang members traveling in the migrant caravan that is traveling through Mexico to the U.S. southern border,” The Daily Wire reported.
In preparation for the arrival of the migrants, Customs and Border Protection reportedly closed four lanes at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry to install infrastructure.
Two weeks ago, I traveled to the San Diego portion of the border to take a look at the infrastructure in place and the challenges Border Patrol faces. Watch below.