U.S. warns of arrests as migrant caravan reaches border

Hannah Rogers
April 30, 2018

Current U.S. law requires Border Patrol and ICE agents to "catch and release" illegal aliens from countries outside of Mexico and Canada into the United States when they claim asylum.

The caravan drew as many as 1,000 people as it crossed Mexico as Trump and top aides portrayed them as a significant threat and evidence of a dysfunctional border.

Castro and most of the other asylum-seekers come from Honduras, where a divisive presidential election has led to killings in the streets.

Ministers from Mexico, Canada and United States also met in the US capital as they rushed to seal a quick deal on updating NAFTA. The caravan is an annual event, but this year's gathering has received unusual attention because of sharp criticism from President Trump. The asylum seeker showed reporters images of his mother, brutally beaten and lying in a hospital bed.

The immigrants, who arrived Wednesday evening in the border city of Tijuana, are staying at two immigrant shelters. Since "Fox and Friends" reported on the caravan early this month, the president has repeatedly tweeted about it and called for the National Guard to help secure the Mexican border.

As Sunday's showdown at the busy Tijuana-San Diego border crossing neared, Amnesty International hoisted a billboard promoting the right to asylum in the USA on a truck in Tijuana that drove around the city.

"We want our people to be there to be helpful and also for people to know that they are welcome", Rocketto told Newsweek, adding that volunteers had a "real clarity that Trump wants to keep people out [of the U.S.], but they want to welcome people and they want the refugee caravan to know they are really welcome".

That is not what the caravan participants say they plan to do.

She also said that she was prepared for the possibility that protesters rallying against the arrival of asylum seekers could also show up at the border on Sunday.

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KPBS's Guerrero spoke to Jeimy Pastora Castro in Tijuana, outside the port of entry.

"The wall doesn't look that tall", said Kimberly George, a 15-year-old girl from Honduras as she looked toward a stunted barrier a few feet away.

One of those hoping to get into the U.S.is Jovanne Torres from El Salvador. "If you enter the United States illegally, let me be clear - you've broken the law, and we will enforce the law through prosecution of illegal borders", Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

The immigrants' arrival comes the day after a third federal judge dealt a blow to the Trump administration's efforts to end protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the USA as children. Immigration attorney Michelle Stavros said only about 50 percent of asylum applicants are approved.

But to qualify for asylum, or be rejected, a migrant must first be processed at the border.

"The efforts of USA officials to tarnish asylum seekers as criminals are cynical fabrications that ring hollow".

Turning away someone seeking asylum without considering his claim violates national and worldwide law.

In October, the White House said there were 270,000 affirmative asylum cases awaiting action by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and 250,000 cases pending in the immigration courts.

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