U.S. Inspectors at the Mexico border stopped a caravan of almost 200 asylum- seekers from Central America of crossing to America. The inspectors informed the immigrants who have been travelling for a month that the crossing facility would not be able to accommodate them.
The caravan which called itself the “Stations of the Cross caravan” caught the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump who vowed to stop the asylum- seekers from crossing the border.
An estimated 50 immigrants from the caravan were able to pass through the gate at the border that was being secured by Mexican authorities. However, they were prevented from crossing the border by inspectors at the U.S. facility. The immigrants were permitted to wait outside the facility which is still technically part of Mexico.
Another group of 50 immigrants were left waiting at the Mexican side of the border and were not allowed to pass through the bridge.
The caravan received police escort as they travelled to attend a beachfront rally in Tijuana. The asylum- seekers sang the national anthem of Honduras and waived the Honduran flag.
Kevin McAleenan, commissioner for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) said that the San Ysidro border crossing had reached maximum capacity as far as immigrants without legal documentation. They were advised that those without supporting documentation have to wait at the Mexico side of the border.
President Trump had addressed the issue of the caravan since it started moving last 25 March near the Guatemala border in southern Mexico. President Trump had shared his opinion that there are legal loopholes in the immigration system.
He also criticized the “catch and release” policies of the government that allowed immigrants to cross the border while waiting for the court’s decision which could take years.
Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney General, has referred to the caravan as a “deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system.”
Nicole Ramos, an attorney representing the asylum- seekers and the organizers of the caravan, does not believe border inspectors were taken by surprised by their arrival:
“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.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will detain asylum seekers for three days. However, if they do pass an initial screening, they could further be detained. But there have been cases where the asylum- seeker was allowed to enter the United States on the condition that he/she wear an ankle bracelet.