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Tensions rise at US-Mexico border as migrants, holiday travelers wait to cross

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Hundreds of Central American migrants in Mexico massed on Thursday around a tense U.S. border crossing, where security measures held up long lines of Mexicans headed to Thanksgiving gatherings on the other side of the frontier.

With few belongings, and many of them with children in tow, the migrants set out for the crossing from the baseball field in the Mexican border city of Tijuana where they have been camped out. Around 6,000 migrants who have trekked across Mexico in a caravan in recent weeks are now crammed into the field.

They arrived at the Chaparral border crossing, opposite San Diego, California, and said they would wait there until they could request asylum, in spite of growing U.S. measures to tighten the border.

“We are already desperate, last night it rained and we all got wet. There is no room left. We are all sick. My children have a cold … and nobody has come to give us help,” said David, a Honduran who only provided his first name.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had authorized the use of lethal force on the border and warned that the United States could close the whole frontier.

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The San Ysidro vehicular crossing into San Diego, one of the busiest in the world, was briefly shuttered in the afternoon by U.S. officials as they performed a security exercise.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans enter the United States daily to work or study, and many were trying to get to Thanksgiving celebrations. Mariana del Campo, a retired professor, had hoped to make it across before the closing, but was stuck in the line.

“What’s happening on the border is maddening,” she said as she waited in her car. “I don’t know how long we can put up with this. Someone is going to get tired or explode.”

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Also stuck in her car waiting to cross for Thanksgiving was 54-year-old Aurora Diaz, who said her U.S.-based daughter was reluctant to visit Mexico in case Trump closed the border.

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Tensions were palpable at the pedestrian crossing where the Central Americans had gathered. Mexican police and soldiers stood guard while a helicopter buzzed over the U.S side.

Edgar Corzo, an official from Mexico’s human rights commission, spoke into a megaphone to the crowd, telling them they could request assistance in Mexico.

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But migrants arrived with blankets and prepared to bed down for the night outside the border station. Some of the children cried and complained of the cold.

Authorities in Tijuana said the migrants are facing up to a six-month wait to be able to get an appointment to plead their case for asylum with U.S. authorities.

Earlier this week, U.S. officials briefly closed the main border crossing in Tijuana, putting up concrete barricades and razor wire after reports that migrants could try to rush the crossing.

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“I want President Trump to know that we’re peaceful people, we don’t have weapons, we haven’t come to do evil,” said a man who declined to give his name, holding a white flag on a wooden stick that read “Peace, God is with us.” “We want to work, we want them to help us for the love of God,” he added.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz, Writing by Michael O’Boyle, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien


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Longtime Trump loyalist warns the president that his racist tweets are about to permanently stain his image

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On Tuesday, former Trump administration official Anthony Scaramucci criticized President Trump for telling four freshman congresswomen to go back to their own countries. All four are American citizens.

Scaramucci accused the president of playing to his base, in a way that has dangerous manifestations: for the president and the country.

“He’s blowing very hard on a dog-whistle that every ethnic group that’s landed in the United States has had to hear,” Scaramucci told the BBC.

“I don’t think the president is a racist, but here’s the thing: if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, ‘OK, well, maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.'”

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Ted Cruz defends Trump by comparing him to Twitter trolls who tell him to go back to Canada

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday issued an unusual defense of President Donald Trump's racist remarks against four Democratic congresswomen by comparing the president to an internet troll.

According to Politico reporter Burgess Everett, Cruz deflected criticism of Trump's racist tweets against Reps. Rashiba Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) by arguing that "lefties on Twitter every day" tell him to "go back" to Canada, where he was born in 1970.

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Senators press Facebook on ‘trust’ in hearing on digital currency

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US senators Tuesday questioned whether Facebook can be trusted with a massive financial responsibility at the first public hearing on its plan for a global digital currency called Libra.

The lawmakers added to criticism of the plan unveiled by Facebook last month with two dozen partners on the digital coin, touted as a way to lower costs and facilitate cross-border money transfers.

David Marcus, Facebook's executive heading the digital coin effort, defended the plan during more than two hours at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libra, pledging to comply with all regulations to thwart money laundering and criminal activity.

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