By Samuel Paramore
On Sunday, the March Without Borders arrived from Los Angeles to the U.S.-Mexico border at San Diego. They greeted the migrant caravan they’re supporting on the other side. Separated by the fencing that seals off Tijuana, the migrants endured a campaign of fear and misinformation spread about them by the Trump administration in addition to the other hardships of their sojourn. The caravan, organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras, is comprised of Central Americans who are seeking asylum in the U.S. after fleeing the violence and poverty of their home countries. This year’s caravan proved to be the largest yet since annual treks began in 2008.
Over the course of the 2,000-mile journey, migrants endured much danger, including treacherous terrain. At one point, the caravan almost collapsed in Mexico City, but many continued onward. By the end of the caravan, about 400 asylum seekers ended up making it to the Tijuana border. Instead of just being greeted border patrol officers, they saw a sea of supporters on the other side ready to celebrate their arrival. Activists climbed on top of the wall to shout out congratulations. Five couples got married, a response to the stark reality of possible separation and arrest awaiting them on the other side of the border.
Twenty attorneys for the asylum seekers are working pro bono on their cases. While they’ve stated that strong arguments can been made for around 115 to 185 of the migrants, they’re still expecting familial separation and possible detentions that could last for months. The Trump administration demonized the caravan as a “threat” to the “protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law” in claiming the asylum cases are faked.
When the migrants apply for asylum status, they’ll face many obstacles with a harsh immigration system. But, as this weekend showed, much support will greet them along the way. Many involved with the March Without Borders have stated they’re ready to offer housing and support to the migrants. Attorneys and community leaders are finding ways to help even in the labyrinth of an immigration system not in their favor.
If denied asylum, caravan migrants face deportation back to their home countries and the dangers they fled.