Tired of waiting for asylum, migrants from caravan breach US border

A migrant carries a child past Mexican police who stand guard outside the Benito Juarez Sports Center which is serving as a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Tired of waiting for asylum, migrants from caravan breach US border

  • US President Donald Trump has vowed to stop the migrants entering, sending troops to reinforce the border and attempting a procedural change
  • Frustrated and exhausted after weeks of uncertainty, many of the migrants have become desperate since getting stuck in squalid camps

TIJUANA, Mexico: Central American migrants stuck on the threshold of the United States in Mexico breached the border fence on Monday, risking almost certain detention by US authorities but hoping the illegal entry will allow them to apply for asylum.
Since mid-October, thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, have traveled north through Mexico toward the United States in a caravan, some walking much of the long trek.
US President Donald Trump has vowed to stop the migrants entering, sending troops to reinforce the border and attempting a procedural change, so far denied by the courts, to require asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are heard.
Frustrated and exhausted after weeks of uncertainty, many of the migrants have become desperate since getting stuck in squalid camps in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.
So a number opted to eschew legal procedures and attempt an illegal entry from Tijuana as dusk fell on Monday at a spot about 1,500 feet (450 meters) away from the Pacific Ocean.
In less than an hour, Reuters reporters observed roughly two dozen people climb the approximately 10-foot (3-meter) fence made of thick sheets and pillars of metal. They chose a place in a large overgrown ditch where the fence is slightly lower.
Just before dusk, three thin people squeezed through the fence on the beach and were quickly picked up by the US Border Patrol, witnesses said.
But along the border inland as darkness descended, more and more migrants followed, many bringing children.
Some used a blanket as a rope to help loved ones get over.
A mother and her children made it over the first fence and disappeared into the night.
The sight of them climbing the fence encouraged others, even as a helicopter patrolled overhead on the US side.
Earlier, Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran, sized up the fence while clinging to her three children, aged six, 11 and 12.
“We’re just observing, waiting to see what happens,” Mayeni said. “We’ll figure out what to do in a couple of days.”
Ninety minutes later, she and her family were over the fence.
A number of the migrants ran to try to escape capture, but most of them walked slowly to where US Border Patrol officials were waiting under floodlights to hand themselves in.
’Stand on my head’
Some of the migrants are likely to be economic refugees without a strong asylum claim, but others tell stories of receiving politically motivated death threats in a region troubled by decades of instability and violence.
Applying for asylum at a US land border can take months, so if migrants enter illegally and present themselves to authorities, their cases could be heard quicker.
US officials have restricted applications through the Chaparral gate in Tijuana to between 40 and 100 per day.
Some may hope to defeat the odds and penetrate one of the most fortified sections of the southern US border.
Those that made it across the fence in Tijuana still had to scramble up a hill and contend with a more forbidding wall to reach California, and US Border Patrol agents had the territory between the two barriers heavily covered.
“Climb up. You can do it! Stand on my head!” one migrant said, egging his companion on.
One child and his mother got over the fence and ran up the hill behind. They turned around and waved to those still on the Mexican side.


India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal. (AFP)
Updated 49 min 29 sec ago
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India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

  • The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP will try to canvass and galvanize its activists across India before a general election due next May, after losing power in three heartland rural states, senior leaders said after a meeting on Thursday.
Disgruntled voters blamed the slow pace of job creation and weak farm prices for the Hindu nationalist party’s defeat in the states, two of which it had ruled for three straight terms.
“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal, who attended the meeting. “They’ll have to be tackled, and we will take suggestions from wherever needed.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) various wings — representing women, farmers, lower castes, Muslims and young members — will all hold deliberations after losses in the supposed stronghold states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“These meetings are aimed at preparing for the 2019 election and spreading the party’s message in various sections of society,” Bhupender Yadav, a BJP national general secretary, said after the meeting, which he said had been scheduled before the state election results came out on Tuesday.
He also announced that a planned national convention would be held in New Delhi on Jan. 11 and 12.
Senior BJP minister Nitin Gadkari told the ET Now business channel on Thursday that the agriculture sector may have been neglected under their government.

JOBS AND FARM PRICES
Agarwal, a chartered accountant who is also a director in a state-run bank, said increasing lending for job-generating small businesses was a key focus, as was enhancing procurement of grain from farmers by government agencies at state-mandated prices so there are no distress sales.
The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark, but state agencies mainly buy limited quantities of staples such as rice and wheat at those prices, restricting benefits of higher prices to only around 7 percent of India’s 263 million farmers, according to various studies.
Following the state election setbacks, Modi’s government is expected to announce loan waivers worth billions of dollars to woo farmers, government sources told Reuters this week.
Agarwal said the party’s loss in Madhya Pradesh, known for multiplying agriculture production under three BJP governments, has reinforced its realization that higher output helps consumers by bringing down prices, but can badly hurt farmers.
“The focus has so far been on consumers, like importing onions when prices shot up,” Agarwal said. “Now we need to look at the producers, not just the consumers.”
He also said there was a case for fiscal stimulus, given that inflation fell to a 17-month low in November. Food inflation sank to a negative 2.61 percent from a negative 0.86 percent in October, according to official data released on Wednesday.