Anxiety settles in among “caravan” of migrants seeking asylum

TIJUANA, Mexico  U.S. border inspectors have begun allowing a small number of Central American migrants to enter the country to seek asylum. Many more remain stuck on the other side of the border.

Video shows the first group from the “caravan” of Central American immigrants to make it into the U.S. They traveled nearly 3,000 miles to get to a cramped waiting area, hoping to be granted asylum.

For those on the Mexican side of the border, that was reason enough to celebrate. So far, 14 members of the group have trickled into U.S. Customs for processing, including the first, Gabriella Hernandez from Honduras. She’s a mother of two, with another on the way.

Hernandez says she had no choice but to leave to protect her family from gang violence. The process could take months, and an immigration judge will have the final say. For the rest of the group still waiting at the Tijuana border — nearly 140 people — there’s a mix of anxiety and hopefulness.

In the first year of the Trump administration, more than 26,000 people were granted asylum, which includes 1,300 from China and 841 from Egypt. There was an increase of 27 percent from 2016. Some 54,000 from Central American countries sought asylum in 2017, but only one in 10 were approved.

The caravan hasn’t been without controversy. The Justice Department charged 11 people crossing the border illegally after finding them Monday night. Officials say 10 of them come from countries associated with the caravan. But group organizers say the Justice Department is trying to criminalize their efforts.

“Nobody on either the organizing team or the legal team of this caravan has ever encouraged anyone to cross the border illegally,” said Alex Mensing, with Pueblos Sin Fronteras.

CBS News tried to speak with immigration officials, but no one would go on camera. There was a statement released, saying there aren’t enough resources at the border, but they do believe it’s a temporary problem that will be resolved soon.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: National, US & World News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *