Others scarfed down food before they filed into the center, afraid there would be no food once they turned themselves in to border officials.
Viridiana Vidal, a spokeswoman for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group behind the so-called migrant "caravan", said she expected approximately 100 to 200 people to attempt to cross from Mexico to the U.S.at the San Ysidro border crossing, where they planned to request asylum. The migrants congregated on a bridge leading to the U.S. border while waiting to be processed by American officials.
"Depending upon [San Ysidro] port circumstances at the time of arrival, those individuals may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities", CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said.
Trump Administration officials are threatening to detain and prosecute a "caravan" of Central Americans marching northward if the migrants enter the USA unlawfully to seek asylum. "As sufficient space and resources become available, CBP officers will be able to take additional individuals into the port for processing". At that point, the caravan included more than 1,000 people, including many from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
USA border authorities say some people associated with the caravan had already been caught trying to slip through the border fence and encouraged the rest to report to authorities.
President Trump last week pledged to "stop" the caravan, but the migrants appeared ready for a possible showdown.
Migrants traveling in the "Migrant Via Crucis" caravan head to El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico.
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"Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S., They laugh at our dumb immigration laws". Among them, Ramos said, some cases have still not yet been decided.
"Are you watching that mess that's going on right now with the caravan coming up?" he asked the crowd.
"We've withstood, on the train, many days of exhaustion, hunger, cold and heat", said Rodriguez. He cited it as proof that the country's migration laws are too lax.
Why would a caravan of migrants spend a month trekking across several countries, battling hunger, filth and illness, when their chances of getting United States asylum are so slim?
"There are no jobs, no justice, no laws in Honduras", said 32-year-old Karen Gallo, one of the migrants on the caravan. He added that his role at the border was an "observer" to ensure the migrants are being processed fairly and appropriately. Adults traveling alone could be transported to detention centers across the United States.
The US president has repeatedly denounced the refugee caravan since it set off from near the Guatemala border on March 25, most recently during an evening rally in MI on Saturday. Other times, they remain detained until their cases are complete.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen emphasized Trump's stand. If you make a false immigration claim, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution.