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Troops at U.S.-Mexico border to begin heading home as thousands of migrants arrive

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A U.S. Border Patrol officer stands in front of the border fence that divides the U.S. and Mexico at Friendship Park on Friday in San Diego. The Central American migrant caravan trekking toward the United States converged on the U.S.-Mexican border on Thursday, after more than a month on the road, undeterred by President Donald Trump's deployment of thousands of American troops near the border. (ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP/Getty Images)

The thousands of military troops that were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to incoming migrant caravans from Central America will begin withdrawing this week and should all be home before Christmas, according to Politico.

President Donald Trump ordered 5,800 troops to the border to support U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in its efforts to prevent the illegal entry of migrants into the U.S., but it appears their work is mostly done even as thousands of migrants begin arriving in Tijuana, Mexico.

"Our end date right now is 15 December, and I've got no indications from anybody that we'll go beyond that," said Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who is in charge of the troops at the border.

What this means: Most of the deployed troops are in Texas, and most of the migrants — about 6,000 as of early Monday — are arriving in Tijuana, which is about 20 miles south of San Diego.

According to the Military Times, 2,800 troops are in Texas, 1,500 are in Arizona, and 1,300 are in California. As military personnel cannot perform law enforcement duties, the troops have been setting up barriers along the border and supporting border patrol operations.

So, the drawdown of troops shouldn't have much discernible impact on the way arriving migrants are received and processed, as the troops were never going to be on the front lines of that situation.

What's going on in Tijuana: According to Fox News, there is currently a huge backlog of migrants waiting to be processed at Tijuana's San Ysidro border crossing. According to a Twitter post by Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, border patrol had to temporarily close a port of entry due to "disruptions" by some members of the caravans.

Those migrants who arrive in Tijuana and want to enter the country legally could face waiting periods of up to six months before their asylum claims get heard — with no guarantee that they will be granted asylum.

Tijuana residents haven't taken kindly to the sudden arrival of thousands of migrants, with thousands more on the way. Locals protested the migrants' arrival over the weekend, and now the migrants will have to decide whether they can wait out the legal entry process or whether they will have to turn back.

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