Members of 'immigrant caravan' begin asylum process in US

Other suspected members of the caravan have been charged with 'illegally entering' the US by the Justice Department.

    Immigrant advocates have vowed to stay at the border until asylum applications are accepted [Chris Carlson/AP Photo]
    Immigrant advocates have vowed to stay at the border until asylum applications are accepted [Chris Carlson/AP Photo]

    Some of the roughly 200 Central Americans travelling in an "immigrant caravan" have crossed the US-Mexico border and applied for asylum in the United States, according to activists on the ground.

    Volunteer group Pueblos Sin Fronteras (PSF), Spanish for "People without Borders", said in an early morning tweet on Tuesday that eight of the asylum seekers, mostly from Honduras, had been accepted by the US Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) and will begin applying for asylum.

    Others were kept at the border crossing. On Monday, CBP officials at the San Ysidro crossing in California said they were at capacity and could not accept more, according to reports.

    Photos appeared to show some of the immigrants climbing the border fence between the two countries.
    The Department of Justice has charged 11 of the possible caravan members with entering the US without documents, a misdemeanour offence.

    Kirstjen Nielsen, the US secretary of homeland security, said in a statement last week that if "you enter our country illegally, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution. If you make a false immigration claim, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution."

    PSF said in a social media post on Monday that the immigrants had been waiting for more than 18 hours before CBP "illegally" denied them the ability to enter the US and apply for asylum.

    The caravan began in southern Mexico in March and has marched northward since. The group arrived in Tijuana, a border city just south of California, last Wednesday.

    PSF has organised caravans for several years, but this is the first that has attracted mainstream media coverage in the US.

    President Donald Trump, whose campaign platform included a hardline stance against immigration and initiated a crackdown on undocumented immigrants after assuming office in January 2017, criticised the asylum seekers via Twitter on Tuesday morning.

    "The migrant 'caravan' that is openly defying our border shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are," Trump tweeted.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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