12:13 GMT +312 December 2018
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    Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, try to catch a ride on a truck, in Irapuato, Mexico November 12, 2018

    Awaiting Migrant Caravan: US Military Installs Barbed Wire on Border With Mexico

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    Donald Trump is fulfilling his promise to counter the threat of what he has called an “invasion” posed by the migrant caravan from Central America striving to reach the US. Trump started by issuing an order to deploy some 6,000 additional troops to the US-Mexican border, and is now continuing with the installation of an iron fence.

    On Monday (Nov.19), reports have come out from Laredo, an American border town in Texas, of miles of barbed wire fencing being unfurled. Some 100 US troops from the 19th Engineer Battalion based at Fort Knox, Kentucky have started setting up a concertina wire along a stretch of the Rio Grande River, according to Agence France Presse.

    The fence is designed to organise the chaotic stream of migrant so that they can be observed by US Border Patrol from frontier checkpoints, according to Alan Koepnick, the officer in charge of the construction.

    The group working at the construction site is reportedly unarmed but has been provided with protection from a unit of military police nearby.
    Commenting on the reaction of locals, Lt. Koepnick said that while there are voices against the fencing, there are also those who support the erection of the fence.

    "There's been a lot of support, people coming in, vets shaking our hands, bringing us cakes, water, things like that," said the lieutenant.

    Besides the local population, there are people standing on the other side of the river — migrants.

    "You'll see people across the river cursing at us in Spanish, throwing bottles at us. But on this side it's more positive," explained Koepnick.

    Situation on the Frontier

    Over the past several days, thousands of migrants have reached the US border, sparking protests in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, as it has become a main crossing point, with US border inspectors processing asylum claims from the migrants. This has resulted in hundreds of locals coming out into the streets, waving their national flags and chanting "Out! Out!" calling migrants a threat to the city, according to The Guardian.

    Earlier, Trump sent around 6,000 active troops to the US-Mexico border seeking to strengthen the country's southern border, which has been under pressure from migrants. The move was condemned by Democrats, who described it as a politically motivated gesture made by Trump on the run-up to this year's midterm elections.

    The migrant caravan, which started as a group of around 160 people at bus stops in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula in mid-October, has now reached the northern Mexican border and consists of between 3,600 and 7,000 people, according to Mexican government and UN estimates.

    Related:

    Border Patrol Arrests 12 Caravan Migrants for Crossing US Border – Reports
    First Group of Central American Caravan Migrants Arrives at US Border - Reports
    'Caravan' Full of LGBT Migrants Approaches US Border - Reports
    Tags:
    barbed wire, border, troops, migrant caravan, United States
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