TIJUANA, Mexico (NBC) – At a small shelter near the Mexican-U.S. border, some migrants expressed disappointment over the agreement between the two nations to more aggressively attempt to curtail migration from Central America.
A flood of migrants from Central America have been seeking asylum in large part due to the increase in gang-related violence.
One Honduran man seeking asylum said one of the street gangs plaguing the country gave him a deadline of five days to begin paying a monthly extortion fee of about $120.
He said the gangsters thought he could pay because his daughter went to a good school, but she was on a scholarship.
He said his family earned enough only to keep food on the table and pay the utilities.
Two days before the deadline, he slipped away in the middle of the night with his wife and 8-year-old daughter and left Honduras.
It took them about two weeks to reach Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.
They quickly crossed into the U.S. illegally near Tijuana’s beach and asked for asylum.
After five days in detention, they were sent back to Tijuana at night with an appointment to return later this month.
The mechanism that allows the U.S. to send migrants seeking asylum back to Mexico to await a resolution of their cases has been running in Tijuana since January.
Sunday, U.S. border officers announced only two cases for admission into the U.S.
People who received their place in line in the past week were some 700 places away from the numbers being called, suggesting a wait of many months ahead.