The U.S. border patrol agents have temporarily turned away members of a migrant caravan, named Viacrucis Migrante (Migrant's Way of the Cross), comprising of Central American migrants fleeing violence in their home countries, who are seeking asylum in Mexico and the United States.
The U.S. border patrol agents said the processing at the San Ysidro Border Patrol facility has been put on hold "until space becomes available," U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement Sunday.
Pete Flores, director of operations for the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in San Diego, said if the San Ysidro port reaches its maximum capacity, which is about 300 people, some applicants should wait in Mexico while cases are proccesed, EFE reported.
For weeks, the border at San Ysidro has been a flashpoint where the caravan hoped to make the 15-minute walk over the pedestrian bridge and gain entry into the United States
Meanwhile activists from the U.S. gathered in San Diego's Friendship Park, to express solidarity with the nearly 400 members of the Migrant caravan from Central America who are seeking asylum at the San Ysidro port.
The refugee caravan, "Viacrucis Migrante" under the banner, "Migrantes en la Lucha" (Migrants in the struggle), started a long, arduous journey with nearly 1,350 migrants from across the Central American region from the city of Tapachula in the state of Chiapas on the Mexico-Guatemala border in March to demand an end to the political corruption in their cities in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, in favor of a dignified life and the right to asylum from Mexico and the United States.
The contingent comprises of children, newborns with their mothers, men, and women.
The daunting journey has taken a toll on mothers with their children who have to arrange for water, food, and shelter for the vulnerable section of the caravan. "The majority of those that will be presenting are children coming with their families," Nicole Ramos, an attorney with Al Otro Lado, which directs the Border Rights Project, told EFE.
"Some of them are coming with just their mothers, some of them are coming with just their fathers, and then some of them are coming with both parents. We also have several children who are unaccompanied minors who do not have parents or family to take care of them, and they will obviously be coming by themselves."
"The United States government is the most powerful government on the planet," one migrant told EFE. "One of the most richest governments on the planet. We can build a base in Iraq in under a week, [yet] we can't process 200 refugees? I don't believe it."
Jenni, another member of the "March Without Borders" who arrived last year in the U.S. from El Salvador as part of another caravan told EFE that the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) officers tried to sign her voluntary departure, but she chose to stay and fight for her case.
She spent six months in a detention center after she finally obtained entry into the country. Expressing solidarity with the asylum seekers, she told EFE it is hardly a choice "because they have to do it" owing to the violence at the hands of the gangs which plague their countries, and so they have surrendered "to do everything legally," and not in an illicit manner.