Central Americans reportedly seeking asylum at the border near Tijuana, Mexico have been permitted to enter the United States for processing.
Organizers say eight people began the process for overwhelming numbers of immigrants on Monday evening, due to lack of space.
140 more migrants waited in Mexico to be cleared at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, which is the most congested in the nation. From the Mexican side, a project organizer for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group behind the migrant caravan, Alex Mensing, remarked that people were being allowed into the U.S., “The spirits are high, there was good news for everybody.”
What has become known as the “caravan” of immigrants must now go through the legal path, which may be discerning and arduous.
There is a typical three day time span for asylum-seekers before being turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Aliens seeking residents in the U.S. must go through a basic screening at the border. They may be detained or released and monitored while they begin the process of immigration court.
Almost 80% of migrants made it through the first screening from October through December, but there is limited availability for asylum seekers. From 2012 to 2017 El Salvadorans had a 79% denial rate based on information from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse. Hondurans followed with a 78% rate of denial, and Guatemalans fell at 75%.
The group in the caravan from violence-torn Central America has been the largest thus far, capturing the full attention of the Trump administration.
Trump ran on a promise to close legal loopholes and “catch-and-release” policies that allow noncitizens in the U.S. to remain free until their cases are heard by a judge. The president tweeted on Monday the large caravan “shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are.”
Vice President Mike Pence visited the boarder on Monday pointing out the situation is proof of a need for reasonable immigration reform. He promised, in the mean time, the people in the caravan will have their day in a U.S. court to hear their case.
“Make no mistake about it: These families — often women and small children — are victims,” said Pence. “They’re victims of open border advocates, who support and encourage them to take a long and dangerous trip.”
“We’ll process them under the laws of this country,” the Vice President assured.
This Monday the Department of Justice needed to file charges for illegal entry on 11 of the caravan members. Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to send more immigration judges to deal with the new workload and prosecute criminals.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection processed hundreds of immigrants from Mexico the previous week. The overload caused inspectors to turn back members of the caravan, who only arrived late on Sunday.
Many El Salvadorians are fleeing do to the brutal MS-13 street gang, which was addressed in Trump’s State of the Union address, due to their criminal actives persisting in the U.S. The gang has over 50,000 members spanning multiple countries, and it’s presence is felt in 42 states in America.
There is limited room for about 300 people in Customs and Border Protection at the San Diego border crossing.
“As in the past when we’ve had to limit the number of people we can bring in for processing at a given time, we expect that this will be a temporary situation,” the agency told the press.
The United States takes in more legal immigrants than any other country in world, accounting for about 13.4% of the U.S. population.