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Asylum seekers waiting in Mexico arrive for hearings in US

Migrant caravan approaches US-Mexico border
Posted at 1:11 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 22:25:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Several asylum seekers had their first immigration hearing before a San Diego judge Tuesday afternoon.

Six migrants from Honduras and one from Guatemala were scheduled to appear for their first hearing. The group is among roughly 240 people waiting in shelters in Tijuana under President Trump's new policy.

Robyn Barnard is an immigration attorney with the group Human Rights First. She's representing two men from Honduras.

She met with her clients Tuesday morning after they crossed into the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

"One of my clients is a leader in his church. I think he relies on his faith. He brought us all together to pray before they presented at the port, which was a very touching moment," said Barnard.

The judge granted her motion to allow her clients to be interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security Officials before being returned to the shelter in Mexico. She said they fear for their lives there.

"That's because one, they are asylum seekers, they're not Mexican nationals, they don't feel like they would be able to go seek protection from authorities because they are seen as migrants and foreigners," said Barnard.

Barnard said her clients have family in the United States ready to accept them while their claims are processed.

"They've received verbal slurs for being migrants in Mexico. They are staying in a shelter because they can't afford to pay for housing. They don't have any right to work in Mexico, and the shelter has started receiving threats as a result of sheltering these asylum seekers," said Barnard.

Barnard said her clients were supposed to meet with DHS at the Port of Entry in San Ysidro sometime Tuesday, but as of five p.m she had not received an update on their status.

Their next immigration hearing in San Diego is scheduled for August 6th.

"They've got eyes wide open about the process, and they're hopeful that they will have their chance to be here in the United States while they fight their case."