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Migrant says he paid $350 to crawl through hole near border wall in bid for asylum

Non-profit that works with migrants say it is overwhelmed by influx
Posted at 7:57 PM, May 12, 2023

TIJUANA RIVER VALLEY, Calif. – Standing behind a concrete wall next to his wife and children, Niamat Ullah Arabzada explained how he made it all the way from Afghanistan to the San Diego U.S.-Mexico border.

“My country is not safe.”

He told ABC 10News reporter Austin Grabish he and his family crawled through a hole in the ground in the darkness of the night to get past the primary border wall near San Ysidro.

He said he paid someone in Tijuana $350 to get his family across. The father of three is in search of a new life for his family. He said life under Taliban rule has become too difficult.

“No work, mostly for women, no work, no study, more difficult.”

Arabzada was one of at least hundreds who were waiting behind a border wall Friday night less than 24 hours after the end of Title 42.

“We’ve had an influx of refugees, asylum seekers like no tomorrow,” said Ahmad Mahmuod, a community support specialist with the San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition.

Mahmuod said many of the migrants he is helping have no family or friends in the United States and have gotten injured going over a border wall.

“I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve personally have seen who’ve broken their legs, some have broken their arms, we’re being called from the hospitals daily,” he said.

Mahmuod said he’s seen pregnant women who’ve gotten hurt while crossing the border and small children displaced from their parents.

“People are becoming physically injured in ways that is very devastating and really hard to stomach when you witness that.”