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Some migrants waiting in desert’s sweltering heat get relief

Migrants from Afghanistan, Dominic Republic and Colombia hope to get asylum
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Posted at 5:47 PM, May 15, 2023

NEAR JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — Border patrol started taking hundreds of migrants who’ve been camped out in the desert on U.S. soil away for processing on Monday.

Some of the migrants told ABC 10News they had been waiting in the hot dirt for five days after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near Jacumba Hot Springs in a spot where the border wall ends.

Migrants used tree branches to create shade from the sweltering sun while others made campfires at night to stay warm.

“My country is more danger,” said Edwar Harley Renoga Ortega, who came from Colombia.

Last week, a fire official estimated there were over 1,000 migrants on U.S. soil near Jacumba Hot Springs. On Monday afternoon, that number shrunk to just a couple hundred.

Some migrants told ABC 10’s Austin Grabish they had come from Afghanistan and the Dominic Republic.

One said he paid over $10,000 to get to America.

“I feel very sad that the migrants that you see here have all been horribly taken advantage of by coyotes,” said resident Samuel Schultz, who lives close to where the migrants were camped out.

He was one of many volunteers who brought supplies to migrants in recent days.

“They had no water. They had no food. The first day I brought all of the water and the food I could get from my home.”

The migrants’ arrival in the unincorporated area of eastern San Diego County coincided with the end of Title 42.

The Trump-era policy allowed border officials to quickly expel migrants seeking asylum due to the COVID emergency, but the policy ended last Thursday.

Now migrants are processed under new rules that require asylum seekers to schedule an appointment using a problem-plagued government app. Non-Mexican migrants must apply for and be denied asylum in another country before coming to the U.S. with their plea.

Migrants who don’t follow the rules can be deported and are banned from entering the U.S. for five years.