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  • Building a border wall.

  • It's the holy grail of President Trump's immigration policy.

  • The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility. It won't be.”

  • But at the border, there's a kind of chaos unfolding that a wall might not fix.

  • The Trump administration's hard-line stance on keeping migrants out is pushing asylum seekers to take remote and dangerous routes into the United States.

  • Here's how this is playing out.

  • The border stretches nearly 2,000 miles, and these are the official ports of entry.

  • More than 650 miles already have barriers installed.

  • Fences, barbed wire or vehicle barricades.

  • Over the years, that's pushed people to try riskier routes to get across.

  • And since 2014, more families have been arriving.

  • And many of them are seeking asylum, a human right protected by both U.S. and international law.

  • The Trump administration's hard-hitting crackdown includes a tactic calledmetering.”

  • Documents ready.”

  • Entering through an official border crossing is one way to request asylum.

  • But that's become more difficult under Trump.

  • The practice of metering allows border agents to limit the number of asylum seekers that are processed each day by delaying them from setting foot into the U.S.

  • We can see it in action here, at the Paso del Norte crossing in El Paso, Texas.

  • Officers are standing right at the border, trying to intercept people before they get to the border station.

  • This tactic is deliberate.

  • Once people reach U.S. soil, they have the right to claim asylum.

  • But if they never cross the border, they have to come back another day.

  • Metering is not new.

  • But the Trump administration has taken it to a new level.

  • We're metering, which means that if we don't have the resources to let them in on a particular day, they're going to come back. So they're going to wait their turn.”

  • But as the government is limiting asylum seekers, they're still funneling people to these same ports of entry to seek asylum.

  • Instead migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves lawfully at a port of entry.”

  • This is creating bottlenecks.

  • Here, in Tijuana, is a vivid example of how metering plays out.

  • Thousands of migrants are stuck.

  • Human rights observers say that some are camping in squalid and dangerous conditions.

  • The situation is leading migrants to try riskier routes through desolate terrain, where they're at greater risk of dehydration and other illnesses.

  • They're showing up in places like Antelope Wells, N.M.

  • It's extremely remote and mountainous.

  • Antelope Wells is part of the El Paso border area, which has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families crossing far away from official border stations.

  • As you can see here, this increase happened right when the practice of metering expanded.

  • And many are crossing in groups of 100 or more, like this one that arrived in January.

  • But these remote outposts lack facilities, especially to deal with children.

  • 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and her father crossed here on Dec. 6, where they encountered Border Patrol.

  • They were brought to a nearby outpost, where Jakelin got sick.

  • It took an overnight journey with multiple stops, including a 94-mile bus ride and an air ambulance evacuation to get her to the children's hospital in El Paso.

  • Her condition worsened, and she later died.

  • 12 days later, another father crossed the border in the El Paso area with his 8-year-old child.

  • Felipe Gomez Alonzo was in custody for six days.

  • He died from the flu on Christmas Eve.

  • Border Patrol officials say that they're not equipped to deal with all of this.

  • Our infrastructure is incompatible with this reality. Our Border Patrol stations and ports of entry were built to handle mostly male, single adults in custody, not families or children.”

  • But the practice of metering is forcing people through more remote routes, in turn overtaxing these far-flung outposts and putting a strain on officers.

  • It's also leading to ever-more-dangerous consequences for migrants.

Building a border wall.

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How a Trump Policy Is Triggering Chaos at the Border | NYT News

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    April Lu posted on 2019/02/24
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