Caravan of hundreds of immigrants arrives at US border
Packed into five old school buses, hundreds of Central American migrants arrived at the U.S. border Sunday for a rally, to be followed by a planned mass attempt to apply for asylum in a direct challenge to the Trump administration.
The migrants, many traveling with children, left a downtown Tijuana shelter where they had been staying. Police with flashing lights escorted the buses to a cross-border rally at a Pacific Ocean beach, with supporters gathering on both sides of security fencing.
Asked how he felt as he boarded the bus, Nefi Hernandez of Honduras replied, “Nervous.” He said he intended to seek asylum with his wife and baby daughter, who was born on the journey through Mexico.
President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet have been tracking the caravan of migrants, calling it a threat to the U.S. since it started March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called the caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system,” pledging to send more immigration judges to the border to resolve cases if necessary.
Trump administration officials have railed against what they call America’s “catch-and-release” policies that allow people requesting asylum to be released from custody into the U.S. while their claims make their way through the courts, a process that can last a year.
The arrival at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest, marked the end of a monthlong journey by foot, freight train and bus for the migrants, many of whom said they feared for their lives in their violence-wracked home countries.
Hernandez, 24, said a gang in his hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, threatened to kill him and his family if he did not sell drugs.