On Jan. 14, a group of migrants entered the U.S. via holes dug underneath the border wall in Arizona. It is believed that this collection of 376 migrants is the largest single group of people to ever enter the country in search of asylum.
According to a news source, most of the people in this group came from Guatemala and quickly surrendered to authorities upon entry. Of those who entered the country, 179 of them were children. Further, 30 of these children were not traveling with parents or adults.
Illegal crossings into the U.S. have declined since peaking in 2001. One of the main differences in the type of people who are currently seeking asylum and refugee status is that they are family units rather than individuals. These families do not try to run away from officials; instead, they turn themselves in as soon as possible in order to begin the process of seeking refuge in America.
According to the Border Sector Chief, his unit is in urgent need of funds to provide these families with basic humanitarian necessities. By Thursday, hundreds of the asylum seekers were housed in cinder block cells while the authorities continued to process them and provide for their immediate needs.
As in other border states, California has its share of migrants seeking asylum and refugee status in their efforts to avoid political and religious persecution in their origin nations. It is more difficult than ever to acquire status as a refugee, but it is possible. Having a legal representative to work with improves the chances of these individuals being allowed to remain in America legally.