At least two dozen caravan migrants — including children — climbed the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana and entered the United States illegally Monday night, Reuters reported. According to Reuters, many of the “frustrated and exhausted” immigrants quickly surrendered to the U.S. Border Patrol, hoping that once in the U.S. “they would be able to file asylum claims.”
The caravan migrants reportedly know that once they’re in, they have to be processed and it’s difficult for the United States to throw them out.
Most of the border-crossers turned themselves in to authorities, Reuters reported, although others “tried to escape capture.”
The crossings started just before dusk when “three thin people” managed to “squeeze through the fence on the beach.” Although they were quickly apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol, their success encouraged others to cross over, even as a helicopter patrolled the U.S. side:
Earlier, Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran, sized up the fence while clinging to her three children, aged six, 11 and 12.
“We’re just observing, waiting to see what happens,” Mayeni said. “We’ll figure out what to do in a couple of days.”
Ninety minutes later, she and her family were over the fence.
The migrants believe that once they are in the country, their asylum claims will be heard quicker, according to Reuters:
One child and his mother got over the fence and ran up the hill behind. They turned around and waved to those still on the Mexican side.
“We’ve got a challenging and still potentially volatile situation in Tijuana,” said Kevin K. McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, on Fox News Tuesday morning. “We’ve got over 7,000 migrants there. They were well organized. They were brought to the border by a group that told them they would be able to cross easily into the U.S. to present asylum claims, and that’s not the case.”
McAleenan said that migrants are also illegally crossing the border in Yuma, Arizona, where video shows parents literally dropping their children over the fence. Those individuals were also apprehended and taken into custody “for appropriate processing,” he told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer.
The commissioner added that these scenarios are being played out every day at the border.
“Since that caravan formed in mid-October, we’ve seen 90,000 people come to our border, 85 percent of those crossing illegally between ports of entry, and all lured by the fact that our legal framework has huge gaps that create the opportunity to stay in the U.S. while awaiting a court hearing, even if they don’t have a lawful permission or protection claim. It’s a huge challenge that we need to work with Congress to address,” he explained.
McAleenan said the United States was looking forward to working with the new president of Mexico to address the problem.
“We’ve got criminal organizations profiting off of vulnerable families, charging $5,000 to $7,000 per person — that’s a two-and-a-half billion dollar business of exploitation. We’ve got to stop it and we’ve got to partner with Mexico to do it,” he declared.
“Wall funding is critical for CBP,” McAleenan added. “These areas where we’re seeing breaches in San Diego Sector with some of these caravan migrants coming over are areas where we’re trying to replace with a modern border wall system.”