US defense secretary to visit Mexico border Wednesday

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday he is planning to visit the U.S.-Mexico border as military troops are working on border security measures in response to the wave of migrants coming from Mexico.

"I'll visit the border tomorrow," Mattis said at a news conference without giving further details.

There are currently 2,100 National Guardsmen deployed to the U.S.'s southern border to assist immigration enforcement efforts. An additional 5,200 troops have been sent to reinforce efforts, according to the Pentagon.

Military officials said the troops are focused on creating fences and putting up barricades to harden points of entry along the border.

The migrant caravan, beginning in Honduras, reached a peak of 7,000 people as many from other Central American nations joined in the 1,553 mile (2,500 kilometer) journey to reach the U.S. by foot.

The caravan mostly consists of Hondurans who are fleeing from violence and poverty in their home countries.

The group of migrants were reported to have left Mexico City and begun the final leg of their journey to Tijuana, a Mexican city located on the border with the U.S.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced they will be closing multiple lanes at their ports of entry in anticipation of the migrant caravans.

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