SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Border Report) — There are now close to 100 asylum seekers camping out along the pedestrian lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry waiting to enter the United States.
Following the end of Title 42, the Department of Homeland Security began asking migrants to set up appointments for asylum interviews via the CBP One online application.
But the migrants now in line are trying to make use of a loophole that allows them to show up at a border crossing, without an appointment, and ask for access into the U.S.
According to DHS policy, anyone who can’t get an online appointment due to “language barriers, illiteracy or technical issues” can show up in person to request entry at a port of entry.
Because of this stipulation, the number of asylum seekers arriving at the San Ysidro Port of Entry has steadily gone up since Friday as more and more migrants are taking this route instead of waiting for an appointment.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers can be seen taking down names and nationalities of people who are walking up.
Migrants are reporting they are getting through without appointments.
Enrique Lucero, the head of the Migrant Affairs Office in Tijuana said there are at least 70 people camping out from places such as Russia, Honduras, Venezuela and Asia.
“This situation is being provoked by the same system implemented by the United States,” said Lucero. “The migrants get desperate and abandon their shelters because they don’t want to rely on the application that doesn’t result in an appointment.”
According to migrants, CBP officers are giving access to primarily family units.
“It’s up to an officer’s discretion who can come in and how many, there aren’t any set rules, it’s all discretionary,” said Lucero. “We could see this happening because there are few spaces for appointments available and there’s great demand for them.”
Some migrants have complained members of Mexico’s National Migration Institute has threatened to remove them from the port of entry, but Lucero did not know of such plans.
“For now we’re telling them it’s OK to remain at the crossing as long as they don’t obstruct the line of people who cross every day, if they were to start blocking access then we can close off access.”
The city of Tijuana has not indicated whether it plans to remove the migrants from the area, something it has done in the past when other groups have suddenly camped out at the crossing.
According to Lucero, his office is encouraging the migrants to return to shelters where they can be fed and offered medical care if necessary while waiting out the process for an appointment.