U.S. Vice President Mike Pence paid a visit to agents at a California border station, as a caravan of migrants in Mexico appealed for asylum.
Pence accused the migrants of exploiting the suffering of their countrymen in hopes of getting into the U.S..
Nearly 200 Central American migrants are camped outside an immigration processing center in Mexico along the U.S. border, as a standoff with Border Patrol authorities enters its second day.
Chants erupted on both sides of the border to support the migrants. “The people united will never be defeated,” they called out.
The caravan of migrants has been traveling through the region for the past month, with the goal of reaching the U.S. and claiming asylum. However, they were stopped Sunday at a crossing facility because it was full, according to U.S. border inspectors.
President Donald Trump has vowed to stop the caravan. Officials have said they will prosecute any migrants that file false information in their claim for asylum.
The migrants are currently in the Mexican border town of Tijuana, just across from San Diego.
“They should have a little more awareness and at least support those who really need help,” said one member of the group. “We are coming from our countries, not because we want to, but because the situation is very bad.”
The caravan left the Guatemala-Mexico border at the end of March. At one point it grew to about a thousand migrants, travelling together for safety.
Migrants often face robbery, sexual assault and even murder as they pass through Central America and Mexico. However, the numbers dwindled as some decided to claim asylum in Mexico.
Trump has used the caravan as proof of the need for greater security, including a wall, at the U.S. southern border.
“We need a wall, number one, and you see that right now where they are, and even though it’s not a particularly good wall, and even though a small percentage can climb to the top — they have to be in extremely good shape. But a small percentage can climb that wall,” he said at a press briefing. “We have a wall that is much more difficult. But if you didn’t have that you would just have thousands of people pouring into our country. You have got to have a wall.”
Trump said the plight of the migrants shows the need for an comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.