Tijuana (Mexico) (AFP) – At least 150 Central American migrants reached the border between Mexico and the United States on Sunday, determined to seek asylum from the US.
The group arrived in the Mexican border town of Tijuana, part of a caravan of more than 1,000 people who set out from Mexico’s southern border on March 25.
“We still need to ask for asylum and we hope the US government will open the doors,” Reyna Isabel Rodriguez, 52, told AFP after travelling from El Salvador with her two grandchildren.
“What worries me most are my grandchildren. I don’t want to be separated from them,” she said.
Some of the group sang the Honduran national anthem, and about 30 of them climbed the border fence and shouted slogans about the migrant struggle.
“We want to tell the president of the United States that we are not criminals, we are not terrorists, that he gives us the opportunity to live without fear. I know that God will touch his heart,” said Irineo Mujica of the migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) that organized the procession.
Border patrol agents could be seen observing the migrants from the US side on Sunday.
– US warning –
Washington has threatened to arrest the migrants if they try to sneak in from the border.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a stark warning Wednesday to the first 120 who arrived, including some 50 minors.
“If you enter our country illegally, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.
The caravan is a tradition dating back to 2010 and is designed to draw attention to the plight of destitute Central Americans crossing through Mexico to try to reach the US and the promise of a better life.
This time, it set out with 1,000 people, but they have since dispersed, with some now travelling on their own.
Media coverage of the US-bound caravan triggered a flurry of furious tweets from US President Donald Trump, who ordered thousands of National Guard troops to the border and called on Mexico to stop the migrants.
Mexico rejected the pressure from Trump. Instead, it gave the migrants a one-month transit pass to decide if they want to seek refuge in Mexico, go back home or keep trudging toward the United States.