White House to end asylum access on southern border

World Today

Nicaraguan migrant Javier Velazquez wheels his 14-year-old son across the highway, as part of the Central American migrant caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, in Acayucan, Veracruz state, Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Javier Velazquez said that Axel was shot in the leg during protests in Nicaragua and both are looking for political asylum in the United States. (AP Photo / Marco Ugarte)

The White House is preparing to end asylum access for anyone who crosses its borders illegally. The executive order will limit entry to official U.S. Ports of Entry, the same principle used in the Trump administration’s travel ban. The official decree is expected on Friday and is likely to be challenged in courts immediately.

The move comes as a caravan of thousands of migrants is slowly crossing Mexico toward the United States.

As CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock reports, many are in Mexico City planning their next move.

As the Central American migrants who’ve made it to Mexico City take some time to rest, plans are being laid for their next moves.

The nearest U.S. border is more than a thousand kilometers away, and no one here knows what awaits them when they arrive.

As their numbers grow in the stadium where they are being housed, international authorities are doing their best to deal with this growing humanitarian crisis.

“We estimate that more than 10,000 people have crossed Mexico’s southern border, of which 18-hundred have asked for refugee status. The rest are going to continue their route with the caravan. Five to six thousand are here in Mexico City, and more are still to arrive,” said Christopher Gascon the United Nations Migration Agency Mexico Director.

For at least those 1800 migrants the United Nations identified, establishing a new life in Mexico is preferable to the uncertainty of what awaits them at the U.S. border.

“The border at the moment is very difficult to cross because so many caravans are arriving, there is little chance of remaining in the US. So at the moment we’re looking for permission to work in Mexico for a while, and as time goes by, I’ll be able to get my Mexican papers,” said Georgina Monterosa a Salvadoran migrant.

But for the majority, according to local authorities and most of the migrants CGTN spoke with in the caravan, the United States remains the ultimate goal.

“Our plan is to continue. It makes me scared, be he who doesn’t risk anything, never gets anything,” said Juan Jose Galdames a Honduran migrant.

While some conservative politicians in the U.S. have demonized these travelers, we found dozens of sympathetic Americans here on the ground, offering their help.

Tristan Call from Nashville, Tennessee, is part of a contingency from the American migrant aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which has been guiding and advising the caravan since its journey began in Honduras last month. He says his main focus is giving solid advice to the migrants on what to expect if they continue north and outlining their option to stay in Mexico.

“What we’re trying to do is get people information that is as up-to-date and as good as we can about what this accelerated and more open process that Mexico is trying to do with work permits and residency. We want people to know what they’re likely to face, so that they’re able to make some of those decisions,” said Tristan Call of Pueblo Sin Fronteras.

As caravan members decide on their individual futures, the U.S. border prepares for their approach. And the decisions made at this critical pit stop may determine how many migrants ultimately arrive.