Members of a caravan of migrants from Central America, celebrate near the San Ysidro checkpoint as the first fellow migrants entered U.S. territory to seek asylum on Monday, 1 May 2018, in Tijuana. Photo: Edgard Garrido / REUTERS

By Delphine Schrank
1 May 2018

SAN YSIDRO PORT OF ENTRY (Reuters) – Hopes rose on Tuesday among a caravan of migrants who traveled from Central America to seek asylum in the United States after U.S. border authorities allowed the first small group of women and children entry from Mexico overnight.

Gathering people along the way, the caravan set off a month ago on a 2,000-mile (3,220-km) trek across Mexico to the U.S. border, drawing attention from American news media after President Donald Trump took to Twitter to demand such groups not be granted entry and urging stronger immigration laws.

Celebrations erupted on Monday night among dozens of migrants camped near the U.S. border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, after U.S. officials admitted eight women and children, fueling the determination of others to remain until they were admitted.

However, the U.S. Department of Justice late on Monday announced what it described as the first prosecutions against members of the caravan, filing criminal charges against 11 migrants accused of entering the country illegally about four miles (6 km) west of the San Ysidro, California, border crossing.

"The United States will not stand by as our immigration laws are ignored and our nation's safety is jeopardized," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the charges.

The statement did not provide a figure on any other caravan members who might have also been detained.

On the asylum applicants, the Trump administration's hands are tied by international rules obliging the United States to accept some applications. Most in the caravan said they were fleeing death threats, extortion and violence from powerful street gangs. […]

"We crossed the whole of Mexico," said Angel Caceres, who said he fled Honduras with his 5-year-old son after his brother and nephew were murdered and his mother beaten and raped. They would stay, he said, "until the last person is in, as long as it takes." [more]

Central American 'caravan' women and children enter U.S., defying Trump

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