Tired of waiting, migrants from caravan breach US border
TIJUANA: Central American migrants stuck on the threshold of the US in Mexico breached the border fence on Monday, hoping the illegal entry will allow them to apply for asylum.
Since mid-October, thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, have travelled north through Mexico towards the US in a caravan, some walking much of the way.
Many of the migrants have become desperate since getting stuck in squalid camps in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.
So a number opted to eschew legal procedures and attempt an illegal entry from Tijuana as dusk fell on Monday.
In less than an hour, Reuters reporters observed roughly two dozen people climb the 3m 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 people squeezed through the fence on the beach and were quickly picked up by the US Border Patrol, witnesses said.
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.
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.
Earlier, Ms Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran, sized up the fence while clinging to her three children, aged six, 11 and 12.
"We are just observing, waiting to see what happens," Ms Mayeni said.
Ninety minutes later, she and her family were over the fence.
A number of the migrants ran to try to escape capture, but most walked slowly to where US Border Patrol officials were waiting to turn themselves in.
Some of the migrants are likely to be economic refugees without a strong asylum claim, but others tell stories of receiving politically motivated death threats.
Applying for asylum at a US land border can take months, so if migrants enter illegally and present themselves to authorities, their cases could be heard quicker.- REUTERS