According to news reports some members of a caravan of migrants that has been crossing Mexico have arrived at the U.S. border.
The reports say that a several dozen members of the caravan have reached the border in Tijuana, Mexico. A few have applied for asylum, but most are awaiting a larger caravan contingent of about 500 asylum-seekers that is expected to reach the border in coming days.
The caravan was formed at the Mexico-Guatemala border a couple of weeks ago. At the time, it was much larger with 1,200 participants, mostly from Honduras. The group made its way to the Mexican capitol, Mexico City, where it splintered. Some of the migrants planned to stay in Mexico.
WATCH: Asylum or Not: Migrants at the US/Mexico Border Consider Choices
The caravan is a yearly event, carried out by the group, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, to dramatize the plight of migrants, driven to seek better lives because of violence and poor economic conditions in their home countries. This year’s caravan was bigger than those in the past. In 2017, only about 200 people participated.
Not welcome at the border
From the beginning, President Donald Trump has reacted with alarm at the prospect of so many people marching towards the U.S. border. Monday, he tweeted about the subject again.
Despite the Democrat inspired laws on Sanctuary Cities and the Border being so bad and one sided, I have instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country. It is a disgrace. We are the only Country in the World so naive! WALL— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018
U.S. law requires that people who present themselves for asylum be allowed to make their case and apply.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen issued a statement Monday, saying that her agency would fast track caravan asylum cases.
“DHS, in partnership with (Department of Justice), is taking a number of steps to ensure that all cases and claims are adjudicated promptly including sending additional USCIS asylum officers, ICE attorneys, DOJ Immigration Judges, and DOJ prosecutors to the Southern border,” she wrote, adding that migrants requesting asylum would likely be detained and those whose requests were rejected would promptly be sent back.
DHS set to 'defend' US border
In the meantime, she said DHS is monitoring the reduced caravan's progress and would “defend” U.S. borders.
“If members of the caravan’ enter the country illegally, they will be referred for prosecution for illegal entry in accordance with existing law.”Trump seemed set of preventing future caravans:
Mexico, whose laws on immigration are very tough, must stop people from going through Mexico and into the U.S. We may make this a condition of the new NAFTA Agreement. Our Country cannot accept what is happening! Also, we must get Wall funding fast.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018
Asylum-seekers must demonstrate they have a “credible fear” of returning to their own countries because of religious, racial, social or political persecution. If asylum were granted they would be able to live and work legally in the U.S.