Approximately 20 volunteer United States immigration attorneys have traveled south of the U.S.-Mexico border to Tijuana to hold legal workshops and counsel a caravan of some 400 Central American asylum seekers who have snubbed warnings of separation from their children and detention before deportation.
After traveling to the northern border of Mexico’s Baja California State, the Spanish-speaking American lawyers met with about 300 of the 400 defiant migrants – excluding 100 children – to provide them personal legal advice and immigration information at Tijuana’s largest migrant shelter … before they illegally cross the border.
Free legal consultation for aspiring illegals?
Journalists were not permitted to sit on in on the free legal sessions given to five busloads of migrants – free workshops that were also held at a gallery that previously served as a secret entrance to a cross-border tunnel used by smugglers to transport illegal drugs into San Diego, California.
“Lawyers reportedly offered information about the U.S. asylum process while children of the migrants played in the background,” TheBlaze announced from an Associated Press (AP) report on the workshops. “Migrants were also warned that they could be separated from their children and face detention if they are allowed to stay in the U.S.”
Even though it was reported that many of the migrants met with U.S. attorneys one-on-one for private legal consultation, one organizer of the defiant pro-immigration display insisted that the lawyers did not coach the aspiring illegal immigrants on what to say once they turned themselves in to border agents.
“We always emphasize you have to tell the truth,” Alex Mensing – who helped lead the Pueblos Sin Fronteras group’s anti-Trump display – told AP.
One Southern California lawyer participating in the event claimed that the caravan traveling through Mexico – while crammed into five old school buses – was warned by the attorneys giving free advice and information that they could be separated from their kids and be detained for months.
“We are the bearers of horrible news,” attorney Nora Philips from Los Angeles said, according to AP. “That’s what good attorneys are for.”
Not on our watch …
President Donald Trump and his tough-on-immigration administration reaffirmed its strong condemnation of the asylum-seeking migrants who set out from Central America to test the commander-in-chief’s tightened border enforcement.
Aware of the 400-strong group’s plan to turn themselves in at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego – where 75,000 enter the U.S. daily – the Trump administration has been monitoring its northward migration since March from Guatemala through Mexico and called their attempt to illegally enter the U.S. and bypass its immigration laws a threat to the U.S.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions specifically addressed the Tijuana caravan and vowed to send more immigration judges to the U.S.-Mexico border to decide the immigration cases of the migrants – if they enter the U.S. illegally.
“[The caravan is] a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system,” Sessions asserted, according to Fox News.
Other administration officials also reiterated America’s tough rhetoric on immigration – a stance that many conservative critics argue was lacking during former President Barack Obama’s two terms in the White House.
“Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said any asylum seekers making false claims to U.S. authorities could be prosecuted, as could anyone who assists or coaches immigrants on making false claims,” Fox News reported.
She stressed that the caravan migrants should also be seeking protection in the first “safe” country to which they travel – including Mexico and numerous Central American nations, according to TheBlaze.
Ongoing border battle
Those joining the anti-Trump border stand have amassed for months, and the president is using the defiance to bolster his 2016 campaign promise to erect a continuous 2,000-mile wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border from California’s Pacific Coast to Texas’ Gulf Coast.
“As many as 1,000 people had joined the caravan as it crossed Mexico,” TheBlaze’s Teri Webster informed. “Trump and other officials portrayed it as proof of an unsecure border and support for the border wall he wants to build.”
Attempts to overcome Trump’s augmented border security have increased while Obama’s failed DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program – which provides a path for citizenship to children of illegal immigrants – continues to stall in Washington.
“Administration officials and their allies claim asylum fraud is growing and that many who seek it are coached on how to do so,” the AP noted. “The Border Patrol said ‘several groups’ of people in the caravan have entered the country illegally since Friday by climbing a dilapidated metal fence – it didn’t say how many people.”
Once illegals break into the U.S. illegally at the southern border, a number of things could happen.
“Asylum-seekers are typically held up to three days at the border and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE],” the AP report added. “If they pass an asylum officer’s initial screening, they may be detained or released with ankle monitors. Nearly 80 percent of asylum-seekers passed the initial screening from October through December – the latest numbers available – but few are likely to eventually win asylum.”
Even though many enter the U.S. illegally, an overwhelming majority fail to be granted asylum – but most remain in the country as illegal aliens still benefiting from holes in the system.
“Mexicans fared worst among the 10 countries that sent the largest numbers of U.S. asylum seekers from 2012 to 2017, with a denial rate of 88 percent – according to asylum outcome records tracked by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse,” AP relayed. “El Salvadorans were close behind with a 79 percent denial rate, followed by Hondurans at 78 percent and Guatemalans at 75 percent.”