Migrant "Caravan" At US-Mexico Border Prepares For Mass Crossing
Migrant "Caravan" At US-Mexico Border Prepares For Mass Crossing
DIMITAR DILKOFF AFP Getty Images
30 April, 2018, 11:55
About 20 volunteer USA lawyers gave legal workshops Friday just across the border in Mexico to Central American asylum seekers who traveled in a "caravan" that has been harshly criticized by President Donald Trump . The migrants arrived by bus on Tuesday at a shelterthat was a five minute-walk from the border, Reuters reported, and within sight of a us flag fluttering under an overpass linking the two countries.
The caravan was stalled in southern Mexico earlier this month, and many participants chose to seek asylum in Mexico instead of continuing.
The Department of Homeland Security says it is monitoring the caravan, promising to enforce USA immigration laws and accusing the migrants of having "the apparent intention of entering the United States illegally".
As Sunday's showdown at the busy Tijuana-San Diego border crossing neared, Amnesty International hoisted a billboard promoting the right to asylum in the US on a truck in Tijuana that drove around the city.
On April 16, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents arrested an MS-13 gang member, who embedded himself in a caravan of 60 other immigrants, after he crossed the border illegally in Yuma, Arizona. He said he ordered the Homeland Security Department to "stop the caravan". "These individuals-and their smugglers-ignored the willingness of the Mexican government to allow them to stay in Mexico", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
Those broadly written rules mean caravan migrants can not be turned away without being given a chance to apply for asylum, March Without Borders organizers say.
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One of those hoping to get into the U.S.is Jovanne Torres from El Salvador. "Most of the people in this caravan come from Honduras, where a divisive presidential election has led to killings in the streets".
Event organizers say they are marching in the name of migrants who "suffer repression and violence in their own country and for their human right to seek asylum in the country of their choice".
She plans to give the Central Americans advice for their asylum cases before many of them cross on Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen has said her agency would be monitoring the caravan and warned that the U.S. would prosecute anyone who tried to enter the U.S. illegally or who tries to make a "false immigration claim".
And it could spark a possible showdown with the Trump administration. Pueblo Sin Fronteras has accused US immigration authorities of illegally refusing asylum applicants.
But to qualify for asylum, or be rejected, a migrant must first be processed at the border. Asylum seekers must have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular "social group", a broad category that has included domestic violence victims and others.
The refugees milled about at Playas de Tijuana on the Mexican side of the fence near its terminus at the Pacific Ocean. The 17-year-old hoped to move in with a sister in San Francisco and said she believed "everything will work out".
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