SAN YSIDRO (NEWS 8) – A caravan of around 400 men, women and children arrived at a shelter in Tijuana on Tuesday as part of an annual caravan of migrants from Central America.
For now they will sleep in tents set up for them south of the border, but their plans to enter the United States have been met with strong response from the Department of Homeland Security.
The group, which organizers say is made up of people fleeing violence in their home countries, drew the ire of President Trump after some announced they planned to seek asylum in the United States.
“Now, the caravan, which is over a thousand people coming in from Honduras, thought they were just going to walk right through Mexico and right through the border,” said Trump.
Reports said the caravan has decreased in size and essentially split in two – with around 400 migrants planning to apply for humanitarian visas to stay in Mexico.
The other half, estimated to be 350 to 400 people, left Hermosillo, Mexico and were bound for the border where many plan to apply for asylum despite Trump’s directions to deny them.
On Monday the president again lashed out at the caravan in a series of tweets, including one that read in part:
"I have instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country. It is a disgrace. We are the only Country in the World so naive! WALL"
CBS News spoke via video chat with one of the caravan's organizers.
“I don't know what Donald Trump says, but one of the things that I can tell you is we are trying to find sensible solutions, we are trying to get people to be documented here. They are trying to get a place where they can live without fear. So, he can say whatever he wants and he can be as irresponsible as he wants,” said the organizer.
The Tijuana shelter has set up tents and was bringing in supplies to accommodate the migrants until they figure out their next move – whether it be asylum or not.
A person may apply for asylum if they are at a port of entry or in the United States. The person may apply for asylum regardless of their immigration status and within one year of his or her arrival to the United States.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen released a statement on the migrant caravan which said in part:
“If members of the 'caravan' enter the country illegally, they will be referred for prosecution for illegal entry in accordance with existing law. For those seeking asylum, all individuals may be detained while their claims are adjudicated efficiently and expeditiously, and those found not to have a claim will be promptly removed from the United States."