A group of migrants from Central America that prompted angry warnings by President Trump has reached Tijuana and plans to try to enter the country through the San Ysidro crossing beginning Sunday.
Trump and conservative media labeled the group a “caravan,” but it numbers less than 400 and is part of an annual effort by the advocacy group Pueblo sin Fronteras to help migrants flee drugs and violence in Central America.
According to media reports from Tijuana, shelters in the city’s Zona Norte neighborhood were filling and lawyers were offering workshops on U.S. asylum and immigration law.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen said earlier this week that the migrants would be prosecuted if they make a fraudulent immigrant claim and suggested seeking asylum in Mexico instead.
“Individuals of the ‘caravan’ seeking asylum or other similar claims should seek protections in the first safe country they enter, including Mexico,” Nielsen said.
Pueblo sin Fronteras, which has organized an annual migration for the past 15 years, issued a statement saying this year’s group is fleeing ” institutionalized violence and insecurity in Central Ameria” and that “seeking asylum is not a crime.”
The so-called caravan prompted Trump to call up the National Guard to help secure the border. At one point during the controversy, the President tweeted, “The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our “Weak Laws” Border, had better be stopped before it gets there.”
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