Almost 200 migrants await chance for asylum in standoff at southern border
- Author: Leroy Wright May 01, 2018,
May 01, 2018, 4:55
But they were stopped between the Mexican and U.S. gates, where U.S. Customs and Border agents would need to ask if they feared going back to their homelands, initiating a lengthy and fraught legal process that could end in deportation or asylum.
Nicole Ramos, an attorney working on behalf of caravan members, expressed disbelief that USA authorities can not process more asylum-seekers until its backlog eases.
About 200 people in a caravan of Central American asylum seekers waited on the Mexican border with San Diego for a second straight day on Monday to turn themselves in to US border inspectors, who said the nation's busiest crossing facility did not have enough space to accommodate them. The group of around 200 immigrants traveled through Mexico to the U.S.in an effort to seek asylum at the American border. Younger migrants climbed to the top of tall gates dividing the US and Mexico, fist-pumping to crowds gathered on the American side.
Most of the defendants allegedly entered the USA illegally, which is a misdemeanor. Nikolle Contreras said she suffered "discrimination because of my sexuality, lack of work, discrimination within my own family for being gay and worse, for being a trans person".
Some migrants said they had walked the last leg of the journey filled with anxiety.
Asylum seekers did not appear to be thrown off by the delay.
"We're not here for entertainment, we can not live in our country, we are just people like everyone else", Honduran citizen Katerine Enamorado told the Union-Tribune as she clutched her year-old daughter.
Appriximately 50 members made it past Mexican officials and traversed a bridge on Sunday, but were not allowed inside the USA inspection site and remained outside the building, the AP said. Immigration courts must hear their cases, but past data show their chances of getting asylum are slim.
FACT: Most asylum seekers are actually denied, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
It's actually illegal to dismiss asylum seekers without hearing their cases. A government shutdown ahead of the November mid-elections is unlikely to be supported by his fellow Republicans who are keen to keep control of the U.S. Congress.
Is this caravan something new?
Numerous migrants are fleeing gang violence and political persecution in Central America, and are therefore entitled to apply for asylum in the US. Last year, Mexico received nearly 9,000 new asylum applications, a 156% increase from 2015.
The day was supposed to cap a 2,500-mile journey that began more than a month ago on the Mexican border with Guatemala. His administration's view is that the group represented a threat to border security and national sovereignty.
Why is President Donald Trump so upset about it? US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called it: "A deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system".
So where is the migrant caravan from? Advocates recently sued the Trump administration, arguing that adult asylum seekers are now being detained at an alarming rate to deter others from seeking refuge in the United States.
Elected on a wave of fiery rhetoric about immigration, Trump has continued to make closing the southern border a priority in his administration's plans.
By the time the rally was over and the migrants were preparing to take the final few steps to the border, word was seeping through that there was a problem. But Trump has made the issue a top and contentious priority, framing it as a dire security concern and using language far more volatile than his predecessors.
They say the caravan is now largely dealing with vulnerable migrants fleeing violence and persecution. Maureen Meyer of the Washington Office on Latin America says since taking office, Trump has every year proposed slashing aid to Latin America.