A caravan of Central Americans is seeking asylum in the United States and San Diego’s border has reached full capacity, the Associated Press reports. Nearly 200 Central Americans plan to seek asylum today.
The country’s busiest border crossing reached full capacity around 2:50 p.m. San Diego time. In a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection supplied to AP, officials have confirmed that the border crossing can take in additional people as space and resources become available. Currently, San Diego’s San Ysidro crossing may not be able to take asylum seekers, since the port can hold about 300 people temporarily. Migrants have spent a month traveling in a caravan through Mexico.
According to the Washington Post, about 400 migrants total have begun arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, and another 300 will remain in Mexico. Most of those seeking asylum are Honduran women and children, but some are from El Salvador. 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. As the Post noted, this is the largest caravan this year. Migrant caravans have been criticized by President Trump and other members of the Republican Party. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called them “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system.”
Donald Trump has repeatedly tweeted about the caravan.
According to the Associated Press, asylum seekers often have family in the U.S., but many do not and are seeking sponsors. Heather Crone of advocacy group Show Up for Racial Justice told the news agency that she had found 80 people willing to sponsor caravan members.
“They’re people who have suffered,” former President of Uruguay told the Washington Post. Honduras and El Salvador have the world’s highest murder rates.
The U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 says that a person may seek asylum at the American border, but seekers must find a way to build strong asylum cases. They may do so over a fear of prosecution, because of their religion, race, nationality, or political opinion. It’s important to note that the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 says a person must have a “well-founded fear” to seek asylum, which is quite a broad category.
The Central American migrant caravan is a test of Donald Trump administration’s tough rhetoric on immigration. U.S. immigration lawyers have warned asylum seekers that they face detention and possible separation from their children, in order to “prepare them for the worst.” Those without strong asylum cases have been advised to remain in Mexico.