By Khushbu Shah and Jennifer Hauser, San Diego (CNN): At least 158 Central Americans who traveled in a migrant caravan through Mexico have crossed into the United States this week to seek asylum, organizers said Thursday.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, which organized and guided the journey, said 70 people from the caravan were among those who crossed Thursday into the San Ysidro, California, port of entry near San Diego. The migrants will make their case for why they should be granted asylum.
The group estimates 70 migrants remain at camps and shelters on the Mexican side of the border. They are expected to cross the border and seek asylum.
The migrants say they’re fleeing violence and poverty in Central America and hope they’ll find safety and security in the United States.
President Donald Trump has tweeted that these migrants shouldn’t be allowed into the country. Vice President Mike Pence called the caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine the laws of this country and the sovereignty of the United States.”
But migrants from this caravan are at a port of entry and asking for asylum. And under international law, the United States and other countries must consider asylum claims.
Trump has decried the practice of letting immigrants with pending cases leave detention in some cases — and vowed his administration will put an end to the policy, which he calls “catch and release.”
If history is an indicator, the odds of these migrants getting asylum are slim.
More than 75% of applicants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador between 2011 and 2016 were rejected, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
(CNN’s Khusbu Shah reported from San Diego and Jennifer Hauser wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Holly Yan and Madison Park contributed to this report.)
(This pregnant mom is the first migrant in line for asylum. Photo: CNN)