LATEST NEWS – In the evening of May 7, 2017, over six dozen Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran migrants arrived at Tijuana’s northernmost edge to request asylum, en masse, at California’s San Ysidro Port of Entry.
The youngest was just 3 months old.
Organized by a team of American and Mexican activists from the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the Viacrucis de Refugiados, or Caravan of Refugees, left the southern Mexican border city of Tapachula on April 9.
A group of 200 Central American men, women and children then traversed Mexico together via bus, foot, van and by hitching rides aboard the tops of the Mexican cargo train network known as La Bestia.
Arriving in Tijuana the first weekend of May, 78 members of the group marched to the US border on Sunday, May 7.
Jimmy Antonio, 16, of El Progreso, Honduras, had been traveling alone. “The gang killed my brother,” he said, explaining that gang members had beaten him and promised to kill him, too.
His newfound friend, Aron Mendez, 19, fled La Ceiba Atlantida, Honduras, for similar reasons. The two teens became friends after joining up with the Caravan in Tapachula.
“Even though we’re all from different countries, we supported each other and overcame challenges together as a group,” Mendez said.
Yet even though all 78 migrants from the Caravan of Refugees who turned themselves in at the border were taken into US custody, their prospects of actually being able to stay are grim.
Statistics crunched by the University of Syracuse’s Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) show that the majority of asylum applicants are denied.
For fiscal year 2016, the overall denial rate was 57 percent. For Central Americans, it’s even higher. Only around 10 to 23 percent are granted asylum.
That means an estimated minimum of eight out of the 78 asylum-seekers are likely to be able to stay in the United States.