More than 650 illegal aliens have been detained in Arizona after crossing the border this week, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.
The aliens were apprehended on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13.
The groups were primarily Guatemalans and aren’t believed to be linked to the migrant caravans, the agency said in a news release.
“The groups illegally entered on both sides of the San Luis Port of Entry where there is outdated border wall infrastructure. Larger numbers have started to illegally cross shallow portions of the Colorado River near Yuma,” CBP said.
So far in fiscal year 2018, apprehensions in the Yuma Sector are more than double those in the previous fiscal year, the agency said.
Migrants Scale Fence in San Diego
The first migrants from the caravan are believed to have arrived at the border this week, where several dozens climbed to the top of the border barrier where it meets the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, taunting Border Patrol agents.
Some set foot on the other side but quickly went back to Mexico when agents approached.
CBP said that the migrants scaled the fence to “provoke the agents to arrest them, but ran back across the border.”
Video footage and pictures showed the scene next to the ocean, where the wall separates beaches on both sides of the border, near Friendship Park.
Some of the individuals were once traveling with the migrant caravan, the Border Patrol said. The main caravan is currently in Mexico and heading to California, with up to 10,000 migrants believed to be traveling across the three caravans.
Mattis Visits Border
In Texas, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen visited troops at the United States-Mexico border on Nov. 14.
Mattis said that he does not expect the troops, of which currently 5,900 are deployed across California, Arizona, and Texas, to have direct contact with migrants.
Addressing the range of reports about the migrant caravans, Mattis told the troops not to worry about them.
“If you read all that stuff, you’ll go nuts,” he said, reminding troops to focus on the mission.
He also noted that troops have been asked to put up obstacles such as concertina wire at the border to try to prevent the caravans from breaking through and to provide transportation for Border Patrol agents.
The first phase of the mission should be accomplished within 10 days, he added. The initial authorization from Mattis stretched through mid-December, and that timeline could be extended.