The Central American Caravan Is Now Asking For Asylum In The US

The Central American Caravan Is Now Asking For Asylum In The US

Just like any foreigner, Central American migrants can seek asylum through the Department of Homeland Security, or fight deportation proceedings in the U.S. Justice Department's immigration courts. "We are the hope of Latin America".

While Mexico "has increased its capacity to process and screen potential asylum seekers, it still has a long way to go", she said. "I'm afraid they'll separate us", she said, motioning to her two children and grandchild.

But even before the migrants arrived, the US Customs and Border Protection said the crossing could take in additional people only as space and resources became available.

As members of the group reached the border, United States officials suggested that they should stay in Mexico and warned them - and the activists helping them - against making false immigration claims, saying that they would be prosecuted if they did. In early April, after scathing tweets from the US president, organizers said the group had become so big that it was unwieldy and would end its journey in Mexico City rather than continuing to the border.

In past years, migrant caravans have served as a way to call attention to the plight of migrants on a unsafe journey, but they often traveled in obscurity.

Those who weren't processed by USA authorities would wait and could use the time in Tijuana to gather evidence to support their asylum claims, said Irineo Mujica, the director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a migrant rights group that organized the caravan.

It has drawn the wrath of President Donald Trump, who ordered immigration officials to be zealous in enforcing rules to stop unlawful entry by caravan members.

In the statement, he warned the remaining caravan members to follow the law. It first began with about 1,000 people March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border, drawing comments from Trump as evidence of what he and his aides portrayed as a significant threat, the Post reported.

"If anyone has encouraged you to illegally enter the United States, or make any false statements to US government officials, they are giving you bad advice and they are placing you and your family at risk", he said.

Trump again declines to describe mass killings of Armenians as genocide
Erdogan also called on the Armenian community not to allow those who are trying to ignite hatred and hostility by distorting "our shared past".

The caravan started out with more than 1500 people, but the numbers dwindled to about 200 as the group made its way north by foot, bus and train. But he said the Mexican Government has yet to issue the visas.

But migrants have been seen gathering on both sides of the border fence, with some waving signs from atop the fence.

Asylum-seekers are typically held up to three days at the border and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Numerous caravan members have said they are fleeing death threats by local gangs, retaliatory rape and political persecution in their native countries, which include Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Asylum seekers are screened and have their backgrounds checked and, depending on how they entered the country, may be detained pending a hearing.

But by Sunday morning, doubts were setting in after U.S. immigration lawyers told the group of the hardships they could suffer if their asylum cases were not strong enough, including detention, deportation and long periods of forced separation from their families.

"We want to tell the president of the United States that we are not criminals, we are not terrorists, that he gives us the opportunity to live without fear".

"Watch the caravan, watch how sad and bad it is, including for those people and the crime that they inflict on themselves and that others inflict on them", said Trump. "If you enter the United States at any place other than a Port of Entry it is a crime". Honduras and El Salvador have the world's highest murder rates. Ruben Figueroa, a representative from Mexico's immigration agency, suggested a small group, of about 20 people, should go first "to see the response of the USA authorities".

"I'm nervous. I'm afraid", said Linda Sonigo, 40, walking solemnly towards the US gate with her two-year-old granddaughter in her arms. Most are from Honduras and tell of gang violence and extortion back home. On a national level that front door is the Ports of Entry.

Over the course of the past 15 years, the number of asylum seekers from these countries has grown by 408 percent for Mexicans, 150 percent for Hondurans, 50 percent for Salvadorans and 20 percent for Guatemalans.

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