Asylum-Seeking Immigrants Facing Uncertainties and Stranded at Port of Entry

Photo: NYT

Photo: NYT

According to NBC News, there were around 150 immigrants stranded at the U.S. border on Monday as they were seeking asylum. The immigrants, many of whom were women and children, had to wait to plead their case to officials, who claimed that the crossing was ‘at capacity.’

This border crossing punctuates the last leg of their trip, and while seven to nine hours of sleep per night are what’s generally recommended, these immigrants resorted to sleeping outside the port of entry to San Ysidro near San Diego once immigration officials made it clear that they weren’t processing asylum claims for those without documentation.

Around 40 immigrants did make it behind the turnstiles and toward the entry point before being turned away. A number of migrants erupted in tears upon hearing the news that they would not be able to apply for asylum that day. As of Monday morning, the group still hadn’t been given access.

“They were upset … but they were also very insistent that they would do whatever needed to be done to get to a place where they would be safe,” Alex Mensing, of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group that assisted with organizing the caravan, told NBC News.

The length of time in which migrants seeking asylum will have to wait to plead their case is just the tip of the iceberg of uncertainties involved in the potentially months-long process that lies ahead of them. As of Monday morning, the point of entry was still at full capacity, according to a statement from an official with Customs and Border Protection.

One immigrant, Katherine, is escaping from gang-related violence in Honduras and desperately seeking asylum with her baby girl, Ashley. But Monday morning, she was forced to take Ashley to the hospital for medical care after she had broken a fever. The mother and daughter had to sleep in the cold on a bed of concrete outside the entry port.

“We don’t know when food will arrive, we don’t know when medical care will get here, we don’t know what’s next,” said Katherine.

The group of immigrants has been working tirelessly to procure supplies like blankets, tarps, and food. Some of the migrants also took turns handing out food and staying awake to protect the group overnight.

As of now, the migrants “may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities,” according to Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“As sufficient space and resources become available, CBP officers will be able to take additional individuals into the port for processing,” McAleenan said.

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