For weeks now, members of one of the migrant caravans that traveled from Honduras all the way to the southern border of the US have been stuck in a squalid camp in Tijuana as they await their chance to declare asylum, or otherwise cross the border. But after weeks of waiting – a period that has been marred by violent attacks on border patrol agents and skirmishes with US forces – some have decided that crossing the border to declare asylum in defiance of President Trump’s orders is probably the best course of action, according to Reuters.
These migrants risk “almost certain detention.” Still, many hope that crossing into the US will allow them to declare asylum, even if they are rounded up by some of the thousands of additional troops to the border by President Trump. In recent weeks Trump has championed a policy – “Remain in Mexico” – that would force asylum applicants in the US to stay on the US side of the border until the Court is ready to hear their case.
So far, the policy has been blocked by US courts. Still, Trump has clearly articulated his intentions to tighten immigration restrictions, and it appears migrants on the Mexico side of the border are hoping to find a way to cross into the US before an influx of new resources makes it even more difficult.
To wit, a team of Reuters reporters witnessed groups of migrants bum rushing the border during the pre-dawn hours, hoping to slip past the intense border fortifications and escape into the US under the cover of darkness.
So a number opted to eschew legal procedures and attempt an illegal entry from Tijuana as dusk fell on Monday at a spot about 1,500 feet (450 meters) away from the Pacific Ocean.
In less than an hour, Reuters reporters observed roughly two dozen people climb the approximately 10-foot (3-meter) fence made of thick sheets and pillars of metal. They chose a place in a large overgrown ditch where the fence is slightly lower.
Just before dusk, three thin people squeezed through the fence on the beach and were quickly picked up by the U.S. Border Patrol, witnesses said.
But along the border inland as darkness descended, more and more migrants followed, many bringing children.
Some used a blanket as a rope to help loved ones get over.
Though, in a comical example of media bias, despite the fact that reporters and government agents have confirmed that women and children make up just one third of travelers with the caravan, somehow, all of the people interviewed by Reuters for its story were single mothers.
A mother and her children made it over the first fence and disappeared into the night.
The sight of them climbing the fence encouraged others, even as a helicopter patrolled overhead on the U.S. side.
Earlier, Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran, sized up the fence while clinging to her three children, aged six, 11 and 12.
“We’re just observing, waiting to see what happens,” Mayeni said. “We’ll figure out what to do in a couple of days.”
Despite the hostilities along the border, many of the migrants who made it into the US turned themselves in to border patrol agents to officially file an asylum claim. Many still expect that, if they turn themselves in, their asylum cases could be handled more quickly. While migrants can also file their claims by waiting at the official point of entry, the border patrol has partially closed the location and is only allowing 40 to 100 people to declare asylum each day.
Ninety minutes later, she and her family were over the fence.
A number of the migrants ran to try to escape capture, but most of them walked slowly to where U.S. Border Patrol officials were waiting under floodlights to hand themselves in.
And for those migrants who have no intention to declare asylum, getting over the first fence separating Tijuana from California is only the first part of the battle: After scaling the first wall, they must successfully avoid border patrol agents and surmount a second wall separating the border area from California.
Only then can they begin their journey through America:
“Climb up. You can do it! Stand on my head!” one migrant said, egging his companion on.
One child and his mother got over the fence and ran up the hill behind. They turned around and waved to those still on the Mexican side.