10:05 GMT +321 May 2018
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    A truck drives near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico

    US Launches ‘Military Response’ to Caravan of Asylum Seekers

    © AP Photo / Christian Torres
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    Late Tuesday, a group of roughly 600 Central American migrants arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, near the US-Mexico border, with the intention to seek asylum in the United States. Rather than hearing their cases, the US administration has declared that anyone without a valid claim would be deported.

    It should be noted that the majority of the travelers had left their homes in an attempt to get away from the growing violence in their home countries.

    ​Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, explained that the situation isn't new and that large groups of people have been riding together to the US border "over many years."

    "This has happened in the past, so it's important to note that this is not a new thing," Barón told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "This is part of a trend that's happened over many years of people who are fleeing the area known as the Northern Triangle in Central America, particularly Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, who are escaping very high levels of violence."

    "One of the challenges is the journey to safety in the United States… [it's] a dangerous one. So rather than travel individually, a number of people have come together, [including] some organizations that have helped them in this process, to make sure that they're not subjected to some of the dangers, which include things like sexual assault and kidnappings… that's why they're in this larger group," he stressed.

    With the majority of the migrants pointing out that they left their homes because of widespread gang violence, domestic violence, political repression and discrimination against the transgender community, Barón said the issue is very concerning, because the US government under President Donald Trump has been adamant that the migrants will face deportation.

    "The administration is talking about this as if this is an invasion and talking about it in terms of national security… a lot of people traveling are young mothers with young children and families who are trying to avoid [violence back home]," he told Kiriakou. "I am concerned that the president is using this as an excuse to call on the National Guard. We're responding to a humanitarian issue with a military response."

    "Our laws envision that people are going to be able to seek protection… and present their claims… that's what we should be focused on, but I'm deeply concerned that people won't even be given that opportunity," he concluded.

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    Tags:
    Trump Administration, Migrants, asylum seekers, Donald Trump, Central America, Mexico
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