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.”
American 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 Thursday 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.”
“Open the gates, Trump! We are not looking for war, but work,” shouted Alberto Ruiz, a 22-year-old Honduran.
“Let’s go to the border! There we can pressure Trump. We are only wasting time and strength at the shelter,” Carlos Rodriguez, also Honduran, yelled into a bullhorn.
“Today is a special day. It is Thanksgiving in the United States. They are not going to lynch us,” he said as a crowd applauded and screamed in support.
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