Tijuana Mayor Says Migrant Caravan Organisers Should Face Criminal Charges

01 December, 2018, 14:41 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • U.S. Army soldiers install a barbed wire fence along Anzalduas International Bridge near the U.S. Mexico border in McAllen Texas

After walking and hitch-hiking more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) to the U.S. southern border, some 500 migrants tried to breach it on Sunday.

A Honduran mother said that she was pressured to join the border rush on November 25 that culminated in American Border Patrol officers shooting tear gas into the mob to disperse them. Still others escaped prosecution because in the chaos surrounding Sunday's incident, authorities missed pieces of information necessary to file charges, such as the names of the officers who made arrests.

She said she couldn't walk around freely without fear, her children never attended school because it was too unsafe.

Despite the conditions, many caravan migrants appeared determined to wait as long as it takes, with more than 600 applying for work permits in Mexico earlier this week, according to Mexican officials.

Hundreds of people marched toward the San Ysidro crossing where they were stopped by Mexican police.

The Health Department said 6,000 are in the city, while U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this week that there are 8,500 spread across Tijuana and nearby Mexicali.

Tensions escalated on the southern border last weekend as the USA authorities used tear gas on hundreds of migrants who attempted to cross into California near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

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Thousands of migrants who traveled via a caravan members want to seek asylum in the US but may have to wait months because the USA government only processes about 100 of those cases a day at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego. They point to images of crying barefoot children running from clouds of tear gas after Sunday's clash as proof of the administration's inhumane treatment.

USA authorities are working on a new system to better record evidence if similar circumstances arise in the future, the official said.

Overcrowding along with cooler temperatures and rain has already helped spread illness among migrants, including flu-like sicknesses, lice and chicken pox, according to city officials who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

"Depending on their country of citizenship and their case's final disposition, the Border Patrol may turn those people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement", said spokesman Ralph DeSio.

He said he joined the caravan to find better job prospects in the United States. Asylum seekers are often released in the USA pending the outcome of their cases in immigration court.

Central Americans are typically turned over to ICE, which flies them back home.

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