Hundreds of migrants from a Central American “caravan” turned themselves in to the US Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas. They hope to still get asylum in the US, due to to a court challenge to President Donald Trump’s new policy.
Groups of migrants, including families, showed up at an opening in the border fence between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez starting Monday morning, the Border Patrol said. By the end of the day, over 400 had turned themselves in, and were taken into custody.
The migrants were part of a caravan of people requesting asylum in the US, Border Patrol spokesman Joe Romero told El Paso’s KVIA-TV.
“They see what we have here, so they’re trying to do the same thing,”local resident Mary Juarez, who lives in the neighborhood next to the fence opening, told KVIA. “I understand where they’re coming from, but they need to do it the right way.”
Over 700 miles to the west, in Tijuana, dozens of caravan migrants climbed over the fence to be detained by Border Patrol on the California side. A Reuters reporter witnessed “two dozen” people climbing over the border fence and head for the border wall on top of the hill beyond. More followed after sunset.
At least two “caravans” started out from El Salvador and Honduras in late October, storming the gates on the border bridge between Guatemala and Mexico. After spending a week in Mexico City, the caravans continued their march north after the US midterm elections, riding on trucks and buses until some of them reached the border with California.
The Trump administration reacted by deploying over 5,000 troops on the border and declaring that only those who cross at legal points of entry would be even considered for asylum. A federal judge in California, however, blocked that policy change on November 19.
On Friday, Judge Jon Tigar refused to suspend his ruling, saying that the Department of Justice has not “rebutted the significant harms that will be suffered by asylum seekers with legitimate claims and the organizations that assist them,”according to AP.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon extended the deployment of troops along the border through the end of January 2019. It was previously set to expire on December 15.