Caravan migrants begin to breach border as frustration with slow asylum process grows

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At least two dozen Central American migrants -- who claim they're disillusioned and frustrated with the asylum-seeking process -- breached the U.S.-Mexico border Monday just before dusk by scaling a 10-foot metal fence, witnesses say.

They were observed using blankets and ropes to help climb over the structure separating California from Tijuana, where thousands of migrants have been gathering in recent days. Other migrants managed to squeeze through a section of the fence on the coastal city's beach, according to Reuters.

Some migrants reportedly tried to escape capture by the U.S. Border Patrol, but most were caught. It remains unclear Tuesday how many of the migrants -- if any at all -- managed to escape detention.

Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran mother with three children between six and 12 years old, told Reuters she was only observing others penetrating the border and was “waiting to see what happens.” The woman will decide her family's next action “in a couple of days,” she said.


About 90 minutes later, however, she and her children were seen on the U.S. side of the border, Reuters reported.

The migrants in Tijuana are part of the numerous caravans that traveled through Mexico in an effort to enter the U.S. – some planning to do so illegally, others legally by applying for asylum – citing issues such as rampant violence and sluggish job markets in their home countries.

But the plans were curbed by the Trump administration’s decision to send troops to protect the border from illegal entry and impose a new policy that requires every migrant seeking asylum to remain in Mexico, where their case will be heard. That rule was struck down last month by a federal judge.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum told Fox News his city cannot continue providing support for the migrants, saying already-stretched city resources have been emptied since the crisis began.

“In those six hours that the border was closed, we lost approximately 129 million pesos,” he said, referring to recent clashes at the border. “That's not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel towards those people who are making problems?”


Migrants residing in Tijuana are also suffering and are exposed to health problems, the city's Health Department said last week.

A spokesman for the Health Department told Fox News that, out of 6,000 migrants currently residing in the city, over a third of them -- about 2,267 -- are being treated for health-related issues.

There are three confirmed cases of tuberculosis, four cases of HIV/AIDS and four cases of chickenpox, the spokesman said.

At least 101 migrants have lice and multiple instances of skin infections, the department’s data shows.

There’s also a threat of Hepatitis outbreak due to unsanitary conditions, the spokesman said. The thousands of migrants are currently being sheltered at a former concert venue. They previously were residing at the Benito Juarez Sports Complex near the San Ysidro U.S.-Mexico Port of Entry until this past weekend, when that camp was shut down over "bad sanitary conditions."

Fox News’ Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.