The illegal immigrant caravan swamped border officials in San Diego Sunday as hundreds of people showed up at the San Ysidro port of entry and demanded admittance and asylum as reporters, immigrant rights activists and Mexican watched.
After a month of traveling across Mexico, hundreds of people, most of them from Honduras, massed in Tijuana and began to present themselves to U.S. border officials, reciting the script they’ve been coached to deliver to clear the first hurdles toward asylum.
They quickly overwhelmed port officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who said they’d reached capacity for the day and said the rest would have to wait to try later. Those who didn’t get in Sunday vowed to stick around and try.
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the migrants will be taken in turn, but vowed to impose stiff penalties where possible, pointing to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s vows to pursue charges against anyone who lies to file a bogus asylum application, and against those who help people file bogus applications.
“As Secretary Nielsen said, we will enforce the immigration laws as set forth by Congress and encourage all individuals seeking to enter the U.S. that they do so lawfully. If you break our nation’s immigration laws, we will refer you for prosecution,” Mr. McAleenan said.