Migrant children play the game Monopoly at the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter, 27 April 2018. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten / The Washington Post

By Nick Miroff
27 April 2018

TIJUANA, Mexico (The Washington Post) – The American president, a former real estate mogul, does not want Byron Garcia in the United States. But the Honduran teenager was too busy building his own hotel empire this week to worry much about that.

Vermont Avenue and Connecticut Avenue were his. Now he was looking to move up-market.

The mini-Monopoly board on the dusty floor of the migrant shelter was small, but it fit well in the small space beside the tents. His older sister, Carolina, rolled a 2 and landed on Oriental Avenue.

“That’ll be $500,” said Garcia, 15, gleefully extending his hand. “I love this game!”

Garcia is coming to America on Sunday. Or maybe not. His mother, Orfa Marin, 33, isn’t sure it will be a good day to walk up to the border crossing and tell a U.S. officer that her family needs asylum. She knows President Trump wants to stop them.

Marin and her three children are among the 300 or so remaining members of the migrant caravan who have arrived here at the end of a month-long geographic and political odyssey, a trip that has piqued Trump’s Twitter anger and opened new cracks in U.S.-Mexico relations.

The organizers of the caravan say they are planning to hold a rally Sunday at Friendship Park, the international park where a 15-foot border fence splits the beach. From there, activists and attorneys plan to lead a group of the migrants to the U.S. port of entry at San Ysidro, California, where they will approach U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and formally request asylum.

Tired and anxious after more than a month on the road, they bring searing personal stories of murdered family members and gang threats back in Central America. It will be up to U.S. courts — if they are admitted into the country — to sort out whether they deserve protection or deportation.

Organizers say they expect about 100 people to attempt Sunday’s crossing but acknowledge that many could get “cold feet” after so much buildup.

Regardless of the final number, it will be something considerably more modest than the procession of 1,500 people who appeared on Fox News in late March and seized the president’s attention. His successive tweets depicted them as a lurid threat moving to storm a lawless U.S. border.

Trump has ordered U.S. soldiers to deploy and Homeland Security officials to block the migrants. But the diminished version of the caravan that has arrived here, mostly women and children, has only underscored its meekness.

The families are drained after weeks of travel, coughing children and pinto beans. They have crowded here into shelters in the city’s squalid north end, where the sidewalks are smeared with dog droppings and skimpily dressed women hand out drink promotions among the strip clubs and brothels. The tall American border fence is two blocks away. [more]

At the U.S. border, a diminished migrant caravan readies for an unwelcoming reception

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