San Diego Sector Experiences Increase in Families Entering U.S. IllegallyTop Stories

December 05, 2018 05:52
San Diego Sector Experiences Increase in Families Entering U.S. Illegally

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The United States Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday that the San Diego sector has experienced a "slight uptick" in families entering the U.S. illegally and turning themselves into agents since the caravan of Central American migrants arrived in Tijuana two weeks ago.

The mother and two-year-old daughter from Honduras were taken into custody by U.S. border protection agent when trying to cross the border.

After a wearying weekslong journey through Mexico on foot and hitching rides with an aim to apply for asylum in the U.S., thousands of migrants are living in huddled tent cities in Tijuana on the Mexico side of the border. Some migrants, irked with the prolonged delay to apply are trying to cross over in a secretive and illicit way.

Rachel Rivera, 19, told The Associated Press that Honduras had become unlivable. Moments before flattening herself under the fence, she said she was slipping through to the US in an attempt to "give a better life" to her daughter Charlot.

On a typical day before the caravan arrived in Tijuana, U.S. border patrol agents in the San Diego area detained about 120 or so people trying to cross the border illegally from Mexico.

Related content: U.S. Judge Bars Trump Order Denying Asylum to Illegal Border Crossers

President Donald Trump issued an announcement in November suspending asylum rights for people who try to cross into the U.S. illegally. Rights groups question the legality of that proclamation.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ralph DeSio said the U.S. was trying to deter illegal crossings by issuing the proclamation.

The U.S. has an established process for asylum seekers to present themselves in an "orderly" manner at a port of entry, DeSio told AP via email. "When people choose to ignore that process, they put themselves in danger and, in the case of families, they choose to put the lives of their children at risk."

Trump took to Twitter once again Tuesday to drum up support for a better border wall, arguing that the expense would be less than the U.S. incurs each year due to illegal immigration.

People chiefly from Honduras but as well from El Salvador and Guatemala formed the caravan to Tijuana, seeking safety in numbers while crossing Mexico to avoid criminals and the fees demanded by the gangs that prey on migrants.

Scores of the migrants have told AP they are fleeing poverty and searching for a better life, while many also tell of harrowing violence and death threats back home.

Margarita Lopez, a migrant from Honduras, said she would definitely jump the fence to the U.S. if she got the chance. But in the meantime, Lopez stood in line Tuesday to request a humanitarian visa from Mexican officials that would allow her to live and work in Mexico for a year.

Standing nearby, Luis Fernando Vazquez, a migrant from Guatemala, said he won't make a run for the border.

"I'm not like that," he said. "I prefer to work, to behave well, here."

-Sowmya Sangam

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San Diego  United States  US border  Mexico  migrants