CALEXICOâ€“ Hundreds of migrants from Haiti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Eritrea and other African countries sat at the Calexico West Side Port of Entry Friday afternoon hoping for a chance to cross into the United States as they seek political asylum.
Close to 200 people were crowded inside the portâ€™s pedestrian entrance as they waited processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) while others camped at the Parque de los Heroes de Chapultepec located across the port of entry.
â€œWe have persons of many nationalities who arrived at the Calexico and San Ysidro ports of entry and don’t have the legal documents required to enter into the U.S.,â€ said John M. Campos, CBP Chief of Public Affairs. â€œRecently, we have seen an uptick in the number of Haitians arriving at both Calexico and San Ysidro ports with no status in the United States. We are processing them on a case-by-case basis.â€
As the word spread of their arrival and needs, several Valley people, San Diego State University students, including District 1 Supervisor John Renison, made their way across the border and distributed food, water, clothing and blankets among the refugees.
â€œI accompanied some SDSU students to deliver food and water to the refugees,â€ said Renison. â€œAt this point, no one has contacted the County seeking assistance. However, the County will provide a full report and advise of any new information during Tuesdayâ€™s board meeting.â€
Campos also said CBP officials have made adjustments to port operations to accommodate this uptick in arriving individuals.
â€œCBP officials are used to dynamic changes at Calexico and San Ysidro, two of the nationâ€™s busiest border crossings, and are able to flex resources to accommodate those changesâ€ said Campos.
According to Renison, CBP is processing six people per hour to determine if they can obtain asylum.
Once CBP has processed individuals with no status to legally enter the U.S., they are placed in removal proceedings according to their situation, and placed into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further disposition.