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Lawmaker to join caravan, cross US border


US House Progressive leader Pramila Jayapa is joining a so-called caravan of migrants to cross the border with Mexico into the United States.

The Washington Democrat (pictured below) is scheduled to enter from the Mexican border city of Tijuana on Saturday afternoon as a gesture of opposition to crackdown on immigration by US President Donald Trump.

Jayapa, who flew to the border Friday, was gathering information about how US and Mexican authorities were treating the asylum seekers.

“The president is lying about this caravan, he’s fear mongering,” Jayapal said in a Friday interview before her trip. “He’s trying to use people who are seeking asylum and literally running from death just for his own political benefit and that’s a disgrace.”

The migrants were sprayed with tear gas while trying to cross the US-Mexico border earlier this week prompting Jayapal, the newly elected House Progressive Caucus co-chair, to make the move.

Members of the US border patrol take part in a drill in Sundland Park, United States, on November 30, 2018, as seen from Tijuana, in the Mexico-US border. (AFP photo)


“When I read the report about a week ago that kids and moms were being tear gassed, I just couldn’t sleep,” Jayapal said. “I want to go see for myself what is happening, what happens to asylum seekers as they get to the border, how are they turned back, what’s happening to them in between, where the conditions in which they’re living.”

The so-called caravan, mostly consists of women and children migrants from Honduras, trying to avoid Trump’s anti-migrant crackdown.

“He created a crisis at the border,” Jayapal said.

The lawmaker’s trip will mostly focus on the Mexican side, yet she would provide Democratic investigators and the Judiciary panel with her findings.

“We’re going to dive into all of that because this is a central role of the Judiciary Committee, to have oversight on these issues, to make sure we’re in line with our Constitution and our internal human rights obligations,” she said. “We’re in violation of that on a number of fronts as far as immigrants go… There is international and domestic law that governs that process that we are violating, so I put 95 percent of the blame on this president.”

Since campaigning for the 2016 presidential election, Trump has been accused of stoking racial, ethnic and religious tensions lurking within America.

The Trump administration has been under criticism over its “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Nationwide protests have been held to decry Trump’s crackdown.

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