May 1 (UPI) — A few Central American migrants who traveled by caravan to the U.S.-Mexico border have crossed — while others were arrested by Border Patrol agents.
Only eight of the roughly 200 immigrants were allowed through the gate to apply for asylum Monday night near the U.S. border with Tijuana. They included three women, four children and an 18-year-old man.
The migrants arrived at the border Sunday, including many escaping gang violence in Honduras. The effort was organized by Pueblos Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the Justice Department Monday to file criminal charges against 11 people in the caravan who he said were arrested after they crossed the border unlawfully.
Sessions and U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said those charged had crossed “at a time and place other than as designated by immigration officers” and eluded CBP agents.
“When respect for the rule of law diminishes, so too does our ability to protect our great nation, its borders and its citizens,” Sessions said in a statement. “The United States will not stand by as our immigration laws are ignored and our nation’s safety is jeopardized.”
A statement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the facilities were full when the migrants arrived, which delayed the start of processing — and suggested some may need to wait in Mexico as officers work to process those already in the facilities.
“At this time, we have reached capacity at the San Ysidro port of entry for CBP officers to be able to bring additional persons traveling without appropriate entry documentation into the port of entry for processing,” the statement said. “As sufficient space and resources become available, CBP officers will be able to take additional individuals into the port for processing.”
An organizer of the caravan said the group will remain at the processing center until “every last one is admitted into the United States.”
Similar migrant groups have made their way toward the border in the past few years, but this group has faced vocal opposition from President Donald Trump, whose administration warned of arrests as a group of 130 migrants arrived at the border last week.
In a tweet Monday, Trump said the migrants “openly defied” the border.
“The migrant ‘caravan’ that is openly defying our border shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are,” he wrote. “Yet Democrats like [Montana Sen.] Jon Tester continue to support the open borders agenda — Tester even voted to protect Sanctuary Cities. We need lawmakers who will put America First.”