The controversial migrant caravan that caused national outrage on its way through Mexico to the US arrived south of the California border on Thursday
Asylum seekers arrived in Tijuana last week. Two more busloads arrived on Tuesday and four more on Wednesday. Several hundred immigrants, mostly women and children, live in temporary tents set up for them in a Tijuana shelter. They are expected to try to enter the US on Sunday.
American lawyers have provided migrants with legal counsel to apply for US asylum.
The caravan reaped the wrath of President Trump, who said it was a shame that the group could continue their journey – even as it gained international media coverage. Trump and senior aides have portrayed the caravans and asylum seekers as evidence of a disrupted border and serious threat.
"Despite the democratically inspired laws on the protected areas and the border, which are so bad and one-sided, I have instructed the secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large caravans of people into our country," Trump tweeted. We are the only country in the world, so naive! WALL. "
Despite the President's condemnation, the caravan continued – though it was splintering. At its height, the caravan had 1,500 people. But many separated from the group when it began to attract attention.
About 300 people have reached the border in the last two weeks.
It is not clear how quickly US border officials will be able to handle asylum applications once migrants cross the border.
The caravans have for years been a fairly common tactic among interest groups for Central American citizens seeking asylum in the US to escape political persecution or criminal gangs threats.
But the latter has attracted more attention because it has attracted Trump's attention from the moment when it was held on March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula near the Guatemalan border
Minister of Homeland Security Kirstenen Nielsen said this week that illegal border crossers could be prosecuted.
"The DHS continues to monitor the remnants of the 'caravan' of people traveling to our southern border with the intention of illegally entering the United States," Nielsen said in a statement. "A sovereign nation that can not – or worse – not defend its borders will soon cease to be a sovereign nation, and the Trump government has committed to enforce our immigration laws – whether or not people are part of this" caravan " . "
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.