Caravan of migrants hope to enter the United States to seek asylum

Donald Trump is firm on his stand that illegal migrants from Mexico are not welcome in the United States. "If you enter the United States illegally, let me be clear - you've broken the law, and we will enforce the law through prosecution of illegal borders", Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. Some are also from El Salvador, which like Honduras has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Pueblos Sin Fronteras volunteers say they and other organizations are simply explaining to vulnerable people what rights they have, not coaching them to break the law.

Caravans have been a fairly common tactic for advocacy groups to bring attention to asylum-seekers and the latest is smaller than previous efforts compared to previous border surges, but gained huge visibility after Trump unleashed strong criticism when it began March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border.

Castro and most of the other asylum-seekers come from Honduras, where a divisive presidential election has led to killings in the streets. Asylum seekers must have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular "social group", a broad category that has included domestic violence victims and others. They say that on Sunday, they will seek asylum, following the legal process for asking for safe harbor from persecution in their home countries. Asylum seekers are screened and have their backgrounds checked and, depending on how they entered the country, may be detained pending a hearing. She said prosecution was also possible for any people who might assist or coach immigrants to make false claims in bids to enter the U.S.

Q:Is this caravan something new?

American lawyers were giving the migrants legal advice on how to apply for US asylum. While waiting for a decision, the applicant may be held in detention for a period of six months and in some cases, for years.

The controversial migrant caravan that drew national outrage as it made its way through Mexico toward the USA arrived just south of the California border on Thursday.

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The caravan was organized by the far left organziation People Without Borders. In early April, after scathing tweets from the US president, organizers said the group had become so big that it was unwieldy and would end its journey in Mexico City rather than continuing to the border.

A bus carrying Central American asylum seekers heads to Tijuana on April 24.

Q:Why is President Trump so upset about it?

Despite the president's condemnation, the caravan proceeded - though it splintered.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called the caravan "a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system", and said the Justice Department would prosecute smugglers and anyone who commits fraud. Asylum seekers are typically issued work permits while they wait for their cases to be adjudicated.

The timing of the migrants arrival could compromise a flurry of talks this week to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump has repeatedly threatened to scrap if Mexico does not crack down on the flow of Central Americans through its territory.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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