Customs and Border Protection agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry — the largest crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border, connecting Tijuana and San Diego — have been routinely and illegally turning away asylum seekers for the past several months, according to immigration advocates.
Migrants who present themselves at the port of entry are told to go to Grupos Beta, a unit of Mexican immigration, to be given a date at which to return to the border. According to federal law, border agents are supposed to grant an interview with an asylum officer to migrants who requests asylum or express fear of returning to their country.
Nicole Ramos, a U.S. immigration attorney based in Tijuana, regularly accompanies her clients to the port of entry. “When we get to the port of entry, we approach a CBP officer, and I invariably explain: ‘This person is seeking asylum,’” she said. “Almost every single time, except for one time in the past year, a CBP officer has always said that a person can’t apply for asylum there.”
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