(CNN)A caravan of hundreds of migrants has reached the US-Mexico border after a monthlong trip from Central America that has riled President Donald Trump.
On Sunday morning, migrants in the caravan gathered at Friendship Park in Tijuana and prepared to approach authorities at the San Ysidro port of entry, hoping to seek asylum in the United States. Buses carrying members of the caravan reached Tijuana on Tuesday.In anticipation of the final march, demonstrators lined both sides of the border on Sunday.
— Khushbu Shah (@KhushbuOShea) April 29, 2018
On both sides of the border. Mexico on the left, US on the right. Caravan on this side. The song says “Why do they kill us, why do the punish us for seeking a better life?” @CNN pic.twitter.com/Ex75klXj88
— Khushbu Shah (@KhushbuOShea) April 29, 2018 The migrants say they want a better life for themselves and their children, safe from violence and poverty in their home countries. The caravan is both a humanitarian and an activist mission, as organizers created the event to draw greater attention to the migrants’ plight. One such migrant is Gabriela Hernandez, a pregnant mother of two who fled Honduras and crossed Guatemala into Mexico to join the group heading north. She and her two sons left behind their friends and family and battled hunger and exhaustion along the monthlong journey.Read More”There are people who think I just woke up and said, ‘Oh, I want to just go to the United States.’ It’s not that easy,” she said.
Stefany Rodríguez, 23, has traveled with the caravan since Tapachula and for the most part, in heels. Now, she dons flip flops as this trans woman nears the US-Mexico border. “I am going to fight,” she says. @CNN pic.twitter.com/AaKaBiu9CD
— Khushbu Shah (@KhushbuOShea) April 29, 2018 Isabel Rodriguez, 52, traveled with her two grandchildren, Anderson, 7, and Cristofer, 11, from El Salvador with the caravan over several weeks. She said she was grateful to be in Tijuana but was worried about what’s ahead.”I hear they are separating people who are not parents of children,” she said, “but I am ready to get to the border.”
We met Isabel Rodriguez, 52, with her two grandchildren – Anderson, 7, and Cristofer, 11, – atop La Bestia a couple weeks ago. They’re from El Salvador and have been with the caravan since Tapachula, like many of this group. Isabel says she is excited to be in Tijuana adding, “I’m grateful but worried.” She adds, “I hear they are separating people who are not parents of children…but I am ready to get to the border.” Not wanting to stay in Mexico, Isabel explains, she is taking the kids to the US because there is a chance for work there. More than Mexico, anyway, according to her. She wants to cook, whatever they will let her make. @cnn
Why this caravan is unlike others Similar migrant caravans have ventured toward the US border for the last several years. But this trip has become better known because of critical tweets from Trump and the heightened controversy surrounding immigration policy. Trump has encouraged Mexico to break up the caravans and tweeted that he would not accept the migrants into the country.
Despite the Democrat inspired laws on Sanctuary Cities and the Border being so bad and one sided, I have instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country. It is a disgrace. We are the only Country in the World so naive! WALL
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018 “I have instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country. It is a disgrace. We are the only Country in the World so naive! WALL,” Trump wrote.”If members of the ‘caravan’ enter the country illegally, they will be referred for prosecution for illegal entry in accordance with existing law,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.Gabriela's quest for safety: Pregnant mom gets her boys through sickness, a trash train and 3,000 milesChief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott of the US Customs and Border Protection said several groups of people associated with the caravan illegally entered the United States by climbing over a metal fence.”We are a very welcoming country but just like your own house, we expect everyone to enter through our front door, and answer questions honestly,” he said in a statement.It is not illegal to enter the country at a port of entry and ask for asylum, as international law requires that the United States consider asylum claims. The migrants say they’re not planning to sneak across the border, but to turn themselves in peacefully and ask for asylum.”People who have a legitimate fear of persecution under US law have a right to present their case,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the top Democrat on the House subcommittee on immigration, said on Monday. “That’s not a violation of immigration law. That’s a part of immigration law.”In general, having asylum granted is difficult. More than three-quarters of immigrants seeking asylum from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala between 2011 and 2016 lost their cases, according to immigration court statistics published by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.