Migrants Stage Second Protest At San Diego Border
Sixteen migrants were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego on Thursday in the second demonstration this week held to protest U.S. immigration law.
The group approached the Otay Mesa Port of Entry with the intent to ask for asylum. Many were accompanied by their U.S.-born children, who travelled to Mexico to join the protest.
Joselyn Rodriguez, a 22-year-old U.S. Army specialist, said her father, Florencio Rodriguez, was detained along with two of his other daughters, ages 11 and 13. Both are U.S. citizens.
Florencio Rodriguez was deported from the U.S. three years ago, his older daughter said.
Activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, which organized the protest, said a total of 16 men and 15 children were detained on Thursday. Most of the adults were born in Mexico.
This is the fourth time since last year that NIYA has organized a group of migrants — most of them deportees and young people brought to the U.S. as children — to seek asylum at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Most of the migrants in the first two groups, which crossed last year at Nogales, Ariz., and Laredo, Texas, were released and allowed to start the process of seeking asylum.
The third group, made up of 35 adult migrants and several children, was detained at Otay Mesa on Monday. One person in that group has been deported back to Mexico.
Some of the children were released to relatives in the U.S. and one was taken into custody by child welfare authorities, according to Dulce Guerrero, an organizer with NIYA. The rest of the group has been taken to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Otay Mesa.
The protests have been controversial among some immigration lawyers and activists, and have raised concerns among some U.S. legislators about abuse of the asylum system.
Plus, only a tiny fraction of Mexican asylum seekers win their cases.
But NIYA spokeswoman Cynthia Marroquin said the tactic has allowed many of the participants in the previous demonstrations to reunite with their families in the U.S.
“A lot of them already have a work permit and they’re fighting their cases from inside instead of being on the other side of the border separated from their families,” Marroquin said. “So I think that’s already a win.”
Joselyn Rodriguez said her family decided Florencio, her father, should join the protest as a last hope.
“I don’t think as a soldier I could be where I’m at today (without him),” she said. “And my little sisters are missing out on that.”