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Thread: CA. It's Not Just Members Of The Caravan Who Can't Apply For Asylum

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    CA. It's Not Just Members Of The Caravan Who Can't Apply For Asylum

    It's Not Just Members Of The Caravan Who Can't Apply For Asylum

    The San Ysidro port of entry on the border with Mexico was completely shut down Monday to anyone seeking asylum.

    Originally posted on
    April 30, 2018, at 5:29 p.m.
    Updated on April 30, 2018, at 6:48 p.m.
    Adolfo Flores BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Reporting From
    Tijuana, Mexico

    Luc Forsyth for BuzzFeed News

    People scale the border wall in Tijuana on Saturday during a rally for the caravan.

    The United States completely halted accepting asylum claims at one of its busiest border crossings on Monday — including those from people unrelated to the Central American caravan that has drawn criticism from the Trump administration.

    The halt, which immigration officials declined to explain beyond saying that they did not have the capacity to take any more applicants, had lasted at least 24 hours — since the first Central American members of the caravan presented themselves for processing on Sunday afternoon.

    Immigration officers stationed at the two gray metal doors that lead from Mexico to the United States also turned away a Haitian woman and a deported Mexican national who tried to ask for asylum, neither of whom were part of the caravan. Dozens of Mexican would-be asylum-seekers were also told they could not be processed because the port of entry was at capacity.

    The halt in asylum applications is not unprecedented.

    In December, US officials also stopped taking asylum applications at the San Ysidro crossing, saying then that its facilities in San Diego were filled to capacity and that it could not accept additional applicants until those already in the port of entry had been transferred to other locations. That freeze lasted three days, said Erika Pinheiro, a lawyer with the immigrant advocacy group Al Otro Lado.

    But it underscored complaints by immigration advocates that the United States does little to meet its obligations under US law to allow people fearing political oppression or violence at home to apply for asylum. Advocates claim the backlog is intentional, to discourage people from seeking refuge in the United States.

    On Saturday, Nicole Ramos, another Al Otro Lado attorney, had anticipated the problem in comments to BuzzFeed News. "It's the most powerful government in the world and we can't process 300 refugees?" she asked.

    "It's a way of discouraging people," Gina Garibo, a volunteer with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group that organized the Central American caravan, said on Saturday. "This will highlight and make visible this issue of the US not having the capacity to take in asylum-seekers, at least according to them."

    "They’re certainly able to detain and deport thousands of people every day so it doesn’t really seem realistic that they can't process 150 asylum seekers," Pinheiro said Monday.

    Other crossing points along the Mexican border reported no such difficulties, with officials at crossing points in Arizona and at Del Rio, Texas, reporting that they were taking asylum claims.

    Despite the delay, few members of the caravan were willing to abandon their spot outside the San Ysidro port, despite offers from Grupos Beta, the humanitarian arm of Mexico's immigration service, to ferry them to shelters for the night so they wouldn’t have to sleep outside. Members of the caravan who stayed said they didn’t want to leave because they wanted to put pressure on US immigration authorities to process them.

    “They promised us the sky and stars but we’re not going anywhere,” said one, a 40-year-old Honduran grandmother named Linda.

    Inside the port of entry, the waiting has been difficult for the 20 or so members of the caravan who first tried to surrender to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday and were still waiting 24 hours later.

    There is no bathroom access inside, so people would leave in groups to use a restroom outside. Organizers and other caravan members would bring them food — Monday evening's fare was pizza from Little Caesars.

    Sunday night, they dined on oatmeal and beef with vegetables and rice.

    Tesla, a 29-year-old woman from Honduras, spent the night in a walkway sleeping under blankets with her 9-month-old son. A 2-year-old, dressed in a red hoodie and diaper, played with a toy trumpet behind two metal barriers where immigration agents told them to wait.

    "They're not going to make this easy for us," she said.

    "I'm disappointed, because who knows how long we're going to be here or if they'll let us go forward. We're waiting in the cold and there's no guarantee they'll let us enter."

    Outside, the wait has also been hard. People camped out overnight, sleeping under tarps and blankets to fight the cold.

    Shortly after 2 p.m. Laura Gault, an attorney with Human Rights First, asked a CBP supervisor when they were planning on taking asylum-seekers.

    "Right now, no," he said. "We're still at capacity."
    "Is it capacity issue with room or officers?" Gault said.
    "Space," he answered.

    Luc Forsyth for BuzzFeed News

    For the 1,200 to 1,500 members of the caravan who left Tapachula, from the Mexican state of Chiapas, on March 25, being able to request asylum was supposed to be the end of their long journey.

    Adan, 18, from El Salvador, leaned against the metal barriers that separated the asylum-seekers from people who were able to cross into the United States with travel documents like visas or identification cards.

    "I'm getting myself ready for what I'm going to tell (immigration agents) when I'm allowed in," Adan told BuzzFeed News. "Attorneys have told me I have a strong case and that there is a good chance I'll win. I'm determined to fight my case."

    Irineo Mujica, director of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, said US immigration authorities were trying to wear the group down and disband them.

    "What they don't want is for people to be visible and organized," Mujica said.

    About 200 of the caravan members were expected to request asylum from the United States at a border crossing that normally sees 90,000 people cross into the US each day, 20,000 of those on foot.

    "There are lots of kids here — they're cold and hungry," Mujica said. "The fight is here and we're not leaving."

    Griselda, an 18-year-old Mexican who was not part of the caravan but wanted to claim asylum, said Grupos Beta officials had told her that the Central American migrants were being kept behind barriers because they were aggressive. Another would-be asylum-seeker, 14-year-old Victor, said he'd been warned on Sunday that the arrival of the Central Americans would delay his chance to apply for asylum.

    "They also told us we weren't going to be allowed to ask for asylum yesterday because you were coming," Victor, a 14-year-old asylum-seeker said to some members of the caravan.

    Maria, a member of the caravan, said immigration authorities were just trying to divide the two groups and pit them against each other. She said the Mexicans should join with the caravan.

    "We're stronger together — the people united will never be defeated," she said.

    But staying warm during what was expected to be another cold night outside the port of entry was perhaps the biggest concern. Linda, the 40-year-old grandmother from Honduras, said she brought few belongings to the border crossing after the monthlong trip through Mexico.

    “We were all hoping to turn ourselves in, so we didn’t bring a lot of stuff, just what we had on our backs,” Linda said.

    For Caterine, 14, her biggest concern was being sure her mother and siblings had enough blankets to sleep on the walkway.

    “I always take care of my mom," she said. “I’m the oldest. "That’s what God gifted me.”

    She'd written the phone numbers of attorneys in permanent marker on her back.

    “In case they try to separate me from my parents,” Caterine said. "They told me to write the numbers on our bodies so we can call them."

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    No one should be let in to "apply for asylum". We have 311,000 asylum seekers on back-log pending their reviews. We're full, this is all a fraud, a huge scam by liars, cheats, thugs, thieves, drug runners, pedophiles, kidnappers, murderers, whiners, radicals, rapists, socialists, losers and moochers.
    grandmasmad and Beezer like this.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
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