SAN DIEGO — A day after the U.S. Mexico border was shutdown, a nearby major outlet mall that was forced to close reopened.
This after hundreds of Central American migrants surged toward the US-Mexico border from Tijuana Sunday, forcing the nearby Las Americas Premium Outlets, a 560,000 square-foot outlet mall in San Ysidro, to close down.
On Sunday, the mall explained in a Facebook post, that the decision was made to provide “a safe and secure environment” for “shoppers, retailers and employees.”
“We just saw planes and a lot of police officers everywhere,” one shopper told FOX 5. “It’s like a war, I’ve never seen this down here.”
“When I first arrived, I tried to get into a store and the doors were locked,” another person said. “It figures — my luck — the day I decide to come down here, this happens.”
After the surge of migrants rushed toward the border, officials shut down the San Ysidro port of entry to both vehicles and pedestrians for several hours, before reopening to foot traffic shortly before 4 p.m.
Groups of Central American migrants have been converging on the Mexican border cityfor days in their quest to gain entry to the United States. Their presence has drawn Mexican troops, protesters and fiery rhetoric from President Donald Trump and Mexican officials.
As crowds amassed at San Ysidro, around 500 migrants overwhelmed federal and local Mexican police blockades and rushed toward the border, said freelance reporter Alfredo Alvarez, who was in the crowd. The crowds were made up of men, women and a lot of children, Alvarez said.
With bridge and pedestrian border crossings closed in both directions, the migrants headed for the cargo area where the railroad crosses, where they appeared to get close to the border wall, Alvarez said.
Border Patrol agents used tear gas to keep caravan members back from the border fence, CBP confirmed. The agency said some agents were hit by “projectiles” thrown from the other side of the border.
On Monday, an official of Simon Premium Outlets which owns Las Americas released a statement saying, “Today, Las Americas Premium Outlets re-opened after yesterday’s decision to temporarily close the center as a result of safety concerns. At Las Americas, we are committed to providing a safe and secure shopping environment for our shoppers, retailers and employees. As such, we are continuing to work closely with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the San Diego Police Department, and other law enforcement and security agencies to ensure a safe experience for all those who chose Las Americas as their shopping destination.”