Leaders among the migrant caravan in Tijuana, Mexico are distributing flyers in an attempt to organize a march to the border Saturday morning, according to the city's mayor.
Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said he has asked Mexican federal police and Mexican immigration authorities to do whatever is necessary to stop the group from forcing Customs and Border Protection to shut down the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Citing an economic study, Mayor Gastélum said a Sunday incident that forced an hours-long closure of the port, one of the world's busiest land border crossings, cost his city 129 million pesos, or roughly $6.3 million, in revenue.
According to Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro, California Chamber of Commerce, there was an estimated one-day loss of $5.3 million for the more than 700 businesses that are members of the chamber.
In that incident, a large group entered a fenced area that separates the U.S. and Mexico after pushing past a blockade of Mexican police. CBP officers fired tear gas at the crowd of men, women and children. The agency reported that some officers were hit by rocks thrown over the fence.
The clash led CBP to shut down both vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the port.
“Bad people, not the good people, some of them, not all of them, came in and [participated in this], walking disorderly, trying to cross the border without [the United States’] permission. I mean, that’s a criminal way of doing things,” Mayor Gastélum said.
A Department of Homeland Security source told NBC 7 the department, as well as the CBP and other allied agencies, are aware of Saturday's planned march and are discussing preparations.
Friday afternoon, the CBP said it would briefly shut down the Otay Mesa West Port of Entry for an "operational readiness drill." The exercise is planned for 6 a.m. and will last approximately 10 minutes, the CBP said.
A similar exercise was he held at the San Ysidro POE on Thanksgiving. It lasted around 40 minutes.
The agency said that exercise was designed to "evaluate readiness and assess the capabilities of CBP facilities to make sure necessary preparations."
No other information was available.
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