Migrants jump border fence in Tijuana to try to reach US

A migrant greets people while being transferred via a bus to a new shelter in Tijuana Mexico Saturday Dec. 1 2018. Aid workers and humanitarian organizations expressed concerns Thursday about the unsanitary conditions at the sports complex in Tijuana

MEXICO CITY, Dec. 3 (UPI) - Thousands of migrants from the Central American caravan in Tijuana, Mexico, have put their names on a waitlist for a preliminary political asylum interview with USA authorities - a wait that could be many months.

Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran mother with three children aged between 6 and 12, told Reuters that she was standing by and watching others penetrating the border and "waiting to see what happens".

The border crossing - which Tijuana residents use to reach jobs and shopping on the US side and USA tourists use to head south - was closed briefly last weekend after some migrants tried to rush across.

This is in large part because the caravan organizers promised them they could get into the US and stay there as their asylum case was heard.

Border Patrol agents arrested the woman November 26 after she entered the country illegally near Imperial Beach, California, across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday.

It's unclear where the families were taken from there. Since October, the caravan-which began its journey in the so-called Northern Triangle comprised of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador-has been repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump, who has called the immigrants "invaders" and "criminals". The illegal aliens are trying to sneak in, news reports say, hoping they can apply for asylum once they cross the border.

This problem, according to McAleenan, stems from weak immigration laws in the USA leading migrant families to believe that they cross the border when they don't have valid asylum claims.

Last week the mayor sent a deputy to Mexico City to petition the United Nations Human Rights Ombudsman and High Commissioner for Refugees to assist the migrants.

McAleenan explained how weak laws put "vulnerable" migrant families at risk.

But about 90 minutes later, she and her children were seen on the US side of the border, according to the report.

The inhospitable conditions have increased the apparent frustration of thousands of the caravaners, some of whom arrived at this Mexican border city two weeks ago. Dozens of the migrants have told AP they are fleeing poverty and searching for a better life, while many also tell of harrowing violence and death threats back home. "We've got over 7,000 migrants there". "I prefer to work, to behave well, here".

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