SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Border Patrol stations in San Diego have become so saturated that there’s no room for the large groups of migrants that have started coming across and are waiting long hours in the sun to be picked up, officials told Border Report.
The migrants, mostly from Central and South America, are getting past the first border barrier between San Diego and Tijuana and onto U.S. soil, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says.
But they are are reporting waiting up to 12 hours to be apprehended and their chance to request asylum,
Without the space, U.S. Border Patrol officials told Border Report, “it’s impossible to bring in all migrants who just crossed the border and are waiting to get picked up.”
At the Chula Vista station in San Ysidro, about a dozen migrants could be seen standing in a shaded outdoor holding pen that included three portable bathrooms.
Along the border, the longer waits mean longer exposure to the elements, with temperatures hovering above 90 degrees since last week.
Good Samaritans on the south side of the border give water and food, including pizza, to those who cross and choose to wait.
“We’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” said Tatiana, who is from Colombia.
She was part of a group of about 70 migrants who could be seen milling around just north of the border.
“We’ll keep waiting until we can get ahead,”she said.
Tatiana, like the others, was waiting for Border Patrol agents to arrive and pick her up.
“By the grace of God we’ve made it this far,” said Juan, another migrant from Colombia. “We’ll see if we can make it all the way across.”
Technically, Juan and the others were already on U.S. soil, but were stuck between two 30-foot barriers along this part of the southern border, in the so-called “enforcement zone.”
“It’s part of an international human smuggling ring operating in Tijuana,” said Enrique Lucero, who runs Tijuana’s Migrant Affairs Office. “It’s obviously a clandestine, undetected gap in the border barrier that is being exploited by the migrants and their smugglers to get into U.S. territory.
Border Report contacted CBP about the large groups of migrants that have been detected recently, the longer wait periods for migrants to get picked up, and the number of migrants at stations in the San Diego Sector.
“The United States Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector continues to address the exploitation of vulnerable migrant populations by human smugglers,” a CBP spokesperson wrote. “Criminal organizations constantly alter their operations and locations of migrant movement. San Diego Sector’s operational posture and response are based on comprehensive analysis, and not on any single migrant entry into the United States. Border Patrol agents leverage all available resources to expeditiously transport, screen, and process those encountered.”