Photos: The Migrant Caravan Has Reached the US Border
But US agents say they won't process their asylum applications.
After walking across Mexico for weeks, migrants fleeing violence, poverty, and political instability have reached the US border only to be faced with disappointment.
Immigration officials told the group — part of a caravan of 1,500 people that have been making their way north from the Mexican-Guatemalan border since March — on Sunday that they could not process their asylum claims, leaving them stranded at the border.
A child who is traveling with a caravan of migrants, looks out from a bus carrying the group to the border in Tijuana, Mexico, April 29, 2018. The sign reads in Spanish: We're all brother countries from the Americas. Free transit. Stop the deportations."
Over the weeks, the number of migrants in the group has dwindled. But, according to the New York Times, more than 150 migrants — though Reuters estimates the figure is closer to 50 — from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador still await an uncertain fate.
US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan announced that the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, Calif., was full. He added that migrants would have to wait for “sufficient space and resources [to] become available” to be seen.
When space and resources will become available is unclear.
In the meantime dozens of migrants remain patiently huddled by the border, some with their children.
Gabriela and Tesla are sitting right by the turnstiles to get them into the US. Both of them have their children huddled under blankets to brave the cold. They can see the US as others enter freely to the right. @CNN#thecaravanpic.twitter.com/5ifgKn3SUF— Khushbu Shah (@KhushbuOShea) April 30, 2018
The group from the caravan has been waiting at the port of entry for nearly 15 hours to ask for asylum.— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) April 30, 2018
“That’s okay I’ll wait,” said one woman seeking asylum as she held her baby. “Just give me the hope that I will be able to ask for asylum.”
“We’ve been waiting so long that it doesn’t really matter whether it’s today, tomorrow or when they let us in,” Irineo Mujica, director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the advocacy group that organized the caravan, told Reuters.
The caravan’s organizers have attempted to prioritize cases for consideration, putting forward the most vulnerable of asylum-seekers among them, including children and transgender people facing threats of violence and persecution, Reuters reported.
A woman from the Central American migrant caravan looks through the border wall toward a group of people gathered on the U.S. side while holding a child, near where the border wall ends in the ocean, in Tijuana, Mexico, April 29, 2018.
In order to be granted asylum, applicants must provide proof they have been persecuted or have a credible reason to be afraid of being persecuted on the grounds of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political beliefs.
The Trump administration has been critical of the caravan and US President Donald Trump himself has called the caravan “dangerous” and insinuated that the asylum seekers are a threat to national security.
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
And in a statement from the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system.”
The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, alleging that the administration has illegally, and unnecessarily, detained asylum seekers with valid cases for months in order to deter them and other migrants from coming to the US.
But the migrants remained determined, hanging onto a sliver of hope for a brighter future.
“The hour I’ve waited for my entire life has finally arrived,” one asylum-seeker told the New York Times. “We’ve fought too much to get here. And we’re here.”
Central Americans who travel with a caravan of migrants embrace in Tijuana, Mexico, before crossing the border and request asylum in the United States, April 29, 2018.