Scores of migrants gathered at the U.S. border began scaling the San Diego “wall” while shouting “Gracias, México!” presumably to thank the Mexican government for allowing them to travel from Central America to the U.S. border in the hopes of obtaining asylum from the Trump administration.
Footage TODAY of Central Americans from the Caravan reaching the San Diego border “wall”. The migrants are climbing the fence and cheering “Gracias, México!”
— Lauren Rose (@LaurenRoseUltra) April 29, 2018
Illegal immigrants are scaling over the dinky border fence on the Southern Border pic.twitter.com/DbdKf0rOnl
— Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 (@RealSaavedra) April 29, 2018
— #NBC7 San Diego (@nbcsandiego) April 29, 2018
Members of the Central American are starting to arrive at the border and are very excited. pic.twitter.com/9NpmptnNTM
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) April 29, 2018
Some 200 migrants, many traveling with children, attempted to apply for asylum at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing – approximately six miles inland from where the fence is being scaled – only to be told that they port of entry is at capacity.
“At this time, we have reached capacity at the San Ysidro port of entry for CBP officers to be able to bring additional persons traveling without appropriate entry documentation into the port of entry for processing,” Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement. “Those individuals may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities.”
CBP officials have issued a statement saying they are at capacity for the day to accept people seeking asylum at the San is Ysidro port of entry just as #caravan arrived. “This is to please Donald Trump,” said one organizer. pic.twitter.com/dD6MNNTnPD
— Daniel Gonzalez (@azdangonzalez) April 29, 2018
Or they can just go six miles West and hop the fence.
Despite being told that the San Ysidro port was at capacity, around 200 migrants began walking towards it.
Rodulfo Figueroa, the top Mexican immigration official in Baja California state, told caravan organizers to send in an initial group of 20 migrants to see if U.S. border inspectors would entertain their request for asylum.
Figueroa said he doesn’t know if they would be allowed in and had not received word from U.S. immigration officials.
Nicole Ramos, an attorney working on behalf of caravan members, expressed disbelief that U.S. authorities cannot process more asylum seekers until its backlog eases. –AP
“They have been well aware that a caravan is going to arrive at the border,” she said at a news conference. “The failure to prepare and failure to get sufficient agents and resources is not the fault of the most vulnerable among us. We can build a base in Iraq in under a week. We can’t process 200 refugees. I don’t believe it.”
As we reported yesterday, the approximately 400 migrants about to cross into San Diego have been refusing the advice of immigration attorneys, who say the asylum-seekers risk a lengthy detention, or being separated from their families, before eventual deportation back to Central America.
Kenia Elizabeth Avila, 35, appeared shaken after the volunteer attorneys told her Friday that temperatures may be cold in temporary holding cells and that she could be separated from her three children, ages 10, 9 and 4.
But she in said an interview that returning to her native El Salvador would be worse. She fled for reasons she declined to discuss. –AP
After crossing through Mexicali earlier last week, the migrants been gathering in Tijuana on Tuesday. So many reportedly showed up that the shelter they were occupying was overflowing by Wednesday. Most members of the group are from Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras, and are fleeing their homes, they say, because of death threats from local gangs, or political persecution.
That, according to many, is worth dealing with US authorities and deportation for the small chance they might be granted asylum.
“If they’re going to separate us for a few days, that’s better than getting myself killed in my country,” said Avila.
As Reuters pointed out on Thursday, the timing of their arrival could sabotage NAFTA talks after President Trump repeatedly threatened to scrap the deal if Mexico doesn’t do more to stop Central American migrants from traveling through its territory.