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Cemex wall. Photo supplied

Chaos as ‘Caravan’ of illegals reach US from Mexico

As illegal immigrants gathered at the US border to begin scaling the San Diego "wall", they shouted "Gracias, México!", thanking the Mexican government for allowing them to travel from Central America to the US border.

Published: May 1, 2018, 9:53 am

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    Illegal immigrants were scaling the makeshift border fence on the Southern Border in Tijuana as the migrant caravan prepares to seek asylum in the United States from the Trump administration.

    Scores of migrants, including children, attempted to apply for asylum at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing – close to where the fence is being scaled – only to be told that the 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.”

    The migrants ignored the warning that the San Ysidro port was at capacity, and some 200 asylum seekers began walking towards it.

    The top Mexican immigration official in Baja California state, told caravan organisers to send in an initial group of 20 migrants to see if US border inspectors would entertain their request for asylum.

    According to Rodulfo Figueroa, he doesn’t know if they would be allowed into the US and had not received any information from US immigration officials.

    The approximately 400 migrants about to cross into San Diego have been refusing the advice of immigration lawyers, who say illegals risk a lengthy detention, including being separated from their families, before eventual deportation back to Central America.

    Some migrants were in shock when volunteer lawyers told them on Friday that temperatures may be very low in temporary immigration holding cells and that they could be separated from their small children.

    After crossing through Mexicali earlier last week, the migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras have been gathering in Tijuana.

    Nicole Ramos, an attorney working on behalf of caravan members, told Associated Press that the US authorities should have been more prepared. “They have been well aware that a caravan is going to arrive at the border. 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.”

    The majority of those that will be presenting at the border are going to be children, said Ramos. “Some of them are coming with just their mothers, some of them are coming with just their fathers, and then some of them are coming with both parents. We also have several children who are unaccompanied minors who do not have parents or family to take care of them, and they will obviously be coming by themselves.”

    Reuters reported that the timing of the arrival of the asylum seekers could sabotage NAFTA talks. President Trump had repeatedly threatened to scrap the deal if Mexico does not stop the caravan of Central American migrants from traveling through its territory.

    The “caravan” came together with the help of Pueblo Sin Fronteras [People Without Borders]. ABC News reported that on Sunday, “no one has been processed at all. Nobody has set foot in the United States”, but US authorities on Sunday stated that some people have managed to cross over a vulnerable section of the border over the past 24 hours to wade through a dangerous canyon.

    Rodney S. Scott, chief patrol agent at the US Customs and Border Protection, condemned the migrants, accusing them of having “illegally entered the United States without immigration documents by climbing over the dilapidated scrap metal border fence on either side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.”

    In Michigan, at a rally on Saturday, Trump denounced the caravan as proof that the country’s immigration laws are too lax. “Are you watching that mess that’s going on right now with the caravan coming up?” he asked the crowd.

    Trump blamed US immigration laws as “so weak” and said the country’s borders were too porous. “We don’t have borders,” he said. “We’re going to build the wall. We’re getting it. We have already started.”

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