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About one-third of caravan members have now entered US

Asylum seekers from Central America (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Several dozen more Central American immigrants were called into the United States on Wednesday morning, putting them one step closer to their goal of receiving asylum.

A total of 49 people have now been admitted to the San Ysidro Port of Entry. With an estimated total of about 150 caravan participants who have traveled from Central America to Tijuana, it appears that about a third of the total have been accepted into the system.

Organizers from the caravan, known as Pueblo Sin Fronteras, gathered in the middle of their makeshift tent city to call out the latest names Wednesday morning with the help of a loudspeaker as they huddled under an umbrella to shield them from morning showers.

Dozens of immigrants surrounded Alex Mensing, one of the organizers, as he called out each name. Some ran up to the middle of the encampment in excitement, shouting, “Yes, that’s me!”

The chosen were given five minutes to gather their belongings and head into the U.S. Port of Entry for processing. All of them planned to claim asylum.

Among those called was Katerina Enamorado, a 22-year-old from Honduras traveling with her 1-year-old daughter. Enamorado was feeding her child when her name was called. She was so excited that she ran to Mensing without putting on her shoes and still holding her child’s baby food.

“I’m so tired but I’m even more excited,” she said while packing her belongings. “I hope to work and give my daughter a better life.”

Jose Coello, 17 of Honduras, was serving food to other immigrants when his name was called. It took him a few seconds to realize it meant he was moving on.

Coello joined the caravan at the Guatemalan border. During the trip, members of the caravan had become a family, he said.

“This is something beautiful, unforgettable,” he said. “We are a family and we won’t be happy until the last one of us gets through.”

One of the last people to be called out was Bryan Vladimir Claro, 28, of El Salvador. His hands shook from excitement as he made his way to the border with the rest of the group.

Tuesday, Claro was one of a rotating crew of volunteers who collected donations for bathroom money. Caravan members pay 10 pesos to use nearby restrooms. Wednesday, Claro had an ear-to-ear smile as he said goodbye to his traveling family.

“I’m very nervous and excited about what’s going to happen,” he said. “I hope to have a lot of success in life and achieve my goals.”

After Mensing finished calling the names, members of the caravan let out a round of applause. The ones whose names weren’t called were excited to see their partners get one step closer to the United States.

“There’s hope that we’re making progress,” said Rosia Guadalupe, 38, of El Salvador. “People are happy because we’re going in one by one.”

Meanwhile, after about 20 members of a larger group of between 150 and 200 Mexicans were admitted in the past few days, nobody had been let in Wednesday and the group is growing, according to Mexican organizers, who have complained that they are waiting longer than the Central American caravan.


© 2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.