Trump’s Plan To Deter Asylum Seekers Creates A New Border Crisis (HBO)

Last Tuesday morning, Catardo Gómez stepped from the United States into Mexico, looked around briefly in confusion, and was immediately swarmed by microphones and cameras.

He’d made history simply by walking onto the other side of El Chaparral, a pedestrian border crossing connecting San Diego with Tijuana. Gómez was the first migrant sent back under a new Trump administration program, called the Migrant Protection Protocol, which requires asylum seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico instead of the U.S.

“I’m going straight to the place where I’m staying,” Gómez told the scrum of reporters before being hustled into a van by Mexican immigration agents. “I’m tired.”

Soon, more migrants from Central America like Gómez will be forced to make the trek back over the border as they wait for their asylum cases, which the US is required by domestic and international law to hear in full before it deports asylum seekers back to their home countries. If the program is fully implemented, the implications could be massive.

Most asylum seekers who enter the U.S. through the southern border, either by presenting themselves at a port of entry or crossing illegally and surrendering to Border Patrol agents, wait in the United States while their asylum cases proceed through the severely backlogged immigration court system, which can take months or years.

But now, a growing number will be forced to wait out the process in Mexican border cities, which are often beset by the same problems of violence and poverty that migrants fled in the first place. Some are likely to give up and return home as a result, and both supporters and critics of the program say such a deterrent effect is part of its design.

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Chocolate

The world’s appreciation for cocoa is centuries-old: the ancient Maya were drinking hot chocolate in Central America as far back as 400 BC. VIDEOGRAPHIC

Tijuana Residents Don’t Want The Migrant Caravan In Tijuana (HBO)

The desperate and seemingly unstoppable journey of about three thousand migrants from Central America heading towards the United States has finally reached Tijuana, the final stop before the U.S. border. But the goodwill that migrants encountered on their long journey north from people offering rides and meals is now greeted with a chillier reception.

Instead, those arriving in the border city earlier this week were greeted by hundreds of Tijuana residents protesting their presence with angry chants of “Mexico First!”

Protest organizers echoed language used by U.S. President Donald Trump. “Mexico has always opened its doors to Central Americans to legal and organized migration but not to the illegal invasion that’s currently taking place,” said organizer Jesus Eduardo Burgos Gomez.

At one point during the protest, a group of residents tried to rush one of the shelters housing migrants but Mexican police in riot gear held them back.

“There’s too many people,” said protester Josefina Arangure. “We won’t be able to control it. A lot of people are going to stay and get jobs, others are just going to commit crimes.”

Protesters say they’re worried that this new wave of asylum seekers will overwhelm a city that has already dealt with its share of refugees from previous migrant caravans and from Haitians fleeing the devastation of the 2016 earthquake.

While the vast majority of those in the caravan say their ultimate goal is to get to the United States, U.S. border inspectors under the Trump Administration have only been processing about 100 claims a day at the Tijuana crossing. In the meantime, another thousand Central American migrants are expected to arrive in the next few days.

“They’re coming here with an American dream that doesn’t exist,” said Aranguer. “So unfortunately these people are going to stay here.”

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Migrant children find comfort in their toys as they travel to US

It’s an arduous journey for the caravan of migrants from Central America on their way to the US, seeking a better life. For the children, their toys offer some reprieve from the drudgery of the long travel on the road.

Migrants suffer from tuberculosis, flu on trek through Mexico

More migrants are suffering from tuberculosis and flu-like symptoms as they continue their journey from tropical Central America toward the colder north, enduring extreme climate changes, overcrowding and physical exhaustion.

US border patrol performs drill at the border with Mexico

The US border patrol performs a drill at the border with Mexico, ahead of the arrival of the migrant caravan that started in Central America.

Trump: Up to 15,000 troops may be sent to border

(31 Oct 2018) President Donald Trump says the number of military troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could go as high as 15,000. Trump said that the move would be aimed at preventing the entry of a caravan of migrants traveling from Central America. (Oct. 31)

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US-bound migrant caravan

The United Nations said more than 7,000 people from Central America were now heading toward the United States. Videographic locating the migrant route in Central America. VIDEOGRAPHICS

Thousands of migrants form new ‘caravan’ in Guatemala

Thousands of migrants form a caravan, following the lead of around 5,000 Hondurans who crossed Central America and are now pursuing their journey to Mexico, in the hopes of reaching the United States.