Asylum-seeker campground on Tijuana border grows as frustration with online registry mounts

Border Report

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Green, yellow and orange tents have been springing up since late last week on a sidewalk along Calle Aldrete just south of the San Ysidro border crossing.

An impromptu campground has started to mushroom with migrants wanting to get in line to cross the border into the United States.

Already, about 200 people have moved in despite warnings not to approach the border.

Last Friday was to be the first day some asylum-seekers would enter the U.S., officially ending the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, which mandated people wait out their asylum cases in Mexico.

Nery Cabrera is helped by volunteer as she tries to set up time and date to cross the border. (Jorge Nieto/Special to Border Report)

Some, like Nery Cabrera, have been waiting two years for the opportunity.

“We’re here trying to see if we can gain access, but we haven’t been able to,” she said.

Last week, fearing a crush of people at border crossings, the White House and Department of Homeland Security set up a web portal for people with pending asylum cases. They were to log on and reaffirm their intentions to enter the U.S. They would later get a time and date when they could come to the border to cross.

But many, even those without cases pending, are ignoring the instructions and continue arriving at the campsite.

Cabrera, a Honduran native, says she does have an asylum case pending, but has not been able to access the computer system because it’s not working properly.

“We’ve been on the internet, but the truth is you go in there to look for your information, and it shuts down saying ‘there are not appointments available,'” said Cabrera.

Others are saying the same thing. Attempts to enter the site were met with notices that there was a high volume of users attempting to register.

Volunteer Vanessa Martinez (in gray sweatshirt) tries to help asylum seekers line up appointments to cross the border. (Jorge Nieto/Special to Border Report)

“I’m sad because I haven’t been able to help the migrants who have become like my second family,” said volunteer Vanessa Martinez.

Martinez and others have shown up with computers and portable internet connections to volunteer their time and experience to help migrants.

“There are people stressing out, losing patience fearing they will never set up an appointment and get a chance to cross the border, we have to keep helping and keep trying,” she said.

While many yearn for appointments, some asylum-seekers continue to make their way north.

On Monday morning, another group of 25 was able to enter the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Another group of asylum seekers was processed Monday morning at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in South San Diego. (Courtesy: U.S. Rep. Nanette Diaz, D-California)

In the coming days, more and more will be allowed to cross at various ports of entry throughout the southern border, not just in California.

Visit the BorderReport.com homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border.

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