TIJUANA.- The caravan of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States captured the world’s attention as scores of migrants traveled through Mexico on a journey to escape their violent homelands.
Now that the group has arrived at the border, the next steps in the migrants’ journey will unfold mostly out of public view.
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The caravan first drew attention in the U.S. when President Donald Trump promised that his administration would seek to turn the families away. The rest of the asylum-seeking process will happen slowly and secretively in immigration courts.
Dan Kowalski, editor of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, said the public will “probably see very little (of the caravan cases) unless the applicant is represented and the attorney makes an effort to bring the client into the limelight.”
Twenty eight caravan members were accepted for processing Monday and Tuesday by U.S. border inspectors at San Diego’s San Ysidro crossing, an official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. The crossing, the nation’s busiest, processed about 50 asylum seekers a day from October through February, suggesting the wait will be short.
Under U.S. asylum practices, people spend up to three days at the border inspection facility before being transferred to a long-term detention center.
Asylum officers interview them for an initial screening, usually within a week or so, to determine if their cases should advance to immigration court, which can take several years.