Migrants in Tijuana Trickling Over and Under Border Wall - NECN
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Migrants in Tijuana Trickling Over and Under Border Wall

Thousands of migrants are living in crowded tent cities in Tijuana after undertaking a grueling journey from Central America to the U.S. border. Many are seeking to skip the long official wait on the Mexico side for filing asylum claim with the U.S.

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    Migrants in Tijuana Trickling Over and Under Border Wall
    AP
    Honduran migrant Joel Mendez, 22, passes his 8-month-old son Daniel through a hole under the U.S. border wall to his partner, Yesenia Martinez, 24, who had already crossed in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Moments later Martinez surrendered to waiting border guards while Mendez stayed behind in Tijuana to work, saying he feared he'd be deported if he crossed.

    A steady trickle of Central American migrants have been finding ways to climb over, tunnel under or slip through the U.S. border wall to plant their feet on U.S. soil and ask for asylum.

    In recent weeks, Honduran migrant Joel Mendez fed his 8-month-old son, Daniel, before handing him over to his partner, Yesenia Martinez, who had crawled through a hole in the rain-softened soil under the wall.

    A group of young people hoisted themselves over the wall to San Ysidro, California, hoping that their ticket to a better life was finally within reach. One migrant offered a hand to help the others jumping down onto U.S. territory.

    They all sought to skip the long official wait on the Mexico side for filing asylum claim with the U.S. by getting over the wall and handing themselves over to U.S. agents. Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the San Diego sector had experienced a "slight uptick" in families entering the U.S. illegally with the goal of seeking asylum.

    Yesenia Martinez, 24, reaches back from the San Diego, California side of the U.S. border wall to get her baby's bottle, after crossing underneath from Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Martinez is among a wave of Central Americans getting past the imposing barrier between Mexico and California and expediting their asylum claims by readily handing themselves over to U.S. agents.
    Photo credit: AP

    Thousands of migrants are living in crowded tent cities in Tijuana after undertaking a grueling journey from Central America to the U.S. border. A large number have decided to make new lives in Mexico, applying for work permits and taking jobs at local factories while they wait as the U.S. government processes about 100 asylum requests a day at the San Ysidro crossing, the United States' busiest.

    But by word of mouth, some have realized they can simply cross into U.S. territory, largely uninhibited by Mexican authorities. In twos or threes — occasionally by the dozen — they arrive at the border wall and manage to get over. Often within minutes, border officers quickly arrive to escort them to detention centers and begin "credible fear" interviews.

    Over two nights last week, Associated Press journalists saw more than a dozen migrants taking the risk. A woman wearing a blue-beaded rosary waited with her children to see where they could cross. A Salvadoran migrant hid as he dug a hole in the sand under the wall. In the dark of night, migrants could be seen walking up a hill inside U.S. territory toward agents waiting to detain them.

    Central American migrants planning to surrender to U.S. border patrol agents climb over the U.S. border wall from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, late Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Thousands of migrants are living in crowded tent cities in the Mexican city of Tijuana after undertaking a grueling, weeks-long journey to the U.S. border.
    Photo credit: AP