Border impasse ends as US lets 6 Hondurans apply for asylum

Thursday, December 27, 2018

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — The asylum claims of six Hondurans were accepted for processing Tuesday, ending a 17-hour standoff involving U.S. authorities, the migrants and two U.S. lawmakers supporting them on a tiny piece of American soil at the country’s border with Mexico.

The Hondurans had camped out in an area of San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing past where pedestrians pass a wall plaque delineating the international boundary but before they reach inspectors. They were joined by U.S. Reps. Nanette Barragan and Jimmy Gomez, both California Democrats.

“They’re on U.S. soil, and they’re basically being blocked for presenting themselves for asylum,” Barragan said in a video posted on Twitter that she said was taken around 2:40 a.m.

The asylum seekers arrived at the crossing Monday afternoon, and after several hours U.S. inspectors agreed to process claims of eight unaccompanied children and a mother and her five children, attorneys said. Six more were initially not allowed into the country and sat on blankets throughout a chilly night before authorities agreed Tuesday to process their claims.

“Children are sick, they’re crying, they’ve had to use the bathroom,” Nicole Ramos, an attorney at Al Otro Lado, a legal services organization working on behalf of the migrants, said Monday night. “We’ve had to get blankets and food for them.”

Customs and Border Protection did not comment on the status of the Honduran asylum seekers, but officials said claims are processed as quickly as possible.