Originally published by Politico
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted that Border Patrol and the Defense Department closed “all of the northbound lanes” at the San Ysidro, Calif., port of entry early Monday morning after government officials were notified that “a large # of caravan were planning to rush the border in an attempt to gain illegal access to the U.S.”
But the lieutenant general overseeing the Army’s active-duty border deployment later cast doubt, in an interview with POLITICO, on whether the migrants had indeed plotted to rush the border.
Traffic and pedestrian lanes northbound from Tijuana were blocked at 3:15 a.m. PST and the port of entry was reinforced with jersey barriers and concertina wire, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a written statement. The lanes were reopened at 6:25 a.m. PST. The port of entry is the busiest in the U.S.
But Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, commander of U.S. Army North, told POLITICO that if there were “reliable reports” that a mob was about to rush the border, or something similar that could put agents at risk, “we would close the port.”
The lanes were only “partially closed,” Buchanan said. “About half of the lanes were closed this morning but that’s it. No complete closure.”
In a follow-up tweet, Nielsen said that Border Patrol and the Department of Defense “appropriately responded by blocking the lanes, deploying additional personnel and seeking assistance from other law enforcement and federal assets.” The lanes were later reopened for “legitimate trade and travel,” Nielsen said.
“Unfortunately, some members of the caravan are purposely causing disruptions at our border ports of entry,” Nielsen added in a third tweet. “There is a legal and illegal way to enter the US. We have deployed additional forces to protect our border. We will enforce all our laws,” she wrote.President Donald Trump said Sunday in a Fox News interview that he wants Nielsen to be “much tougher on the border — much tougher, period,” amid rumors that he’s preparing to fire her.