LAREDO, Texas (AP) — Thirty-four young migrants are in U.S. custody after trying to enter the United States without documents in the latest round of what is becoming a new tactic in confronting what they consider unjust U.S. immigration policies.
U.S. immigration officials interviewed the group dressed in a colorful graduation caps and gowns late into the night Monday after they marched across one of the bridges connecting Mexico to Laredo while chanting "Undocumented and unafraid!"
The young people all spent long stretches of their childhoods in U.S. cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix and want to return.
Edna Flores, 22, of Hermosillo in Sonora state, was taken by her family illegally to the U.S. when she was 6. But she voluntarily left Phoenix in January 2012 after deciding her options for finding work or continuing her education were limited after graduating from high school. In Mexico, she found work in a call center and obtained a tourist visa to visit the U.S.
Flores took a 26-hour bus ride last week to Nuevo Laredo to join the group at a migrant shelter as it prepared for Monday's protest march. "I just want to be back with my family," she said.
The risks borne by their parents' generation involved dangerous journeys through darkness across desert and river. The teenagers and 20-somethings who crossed Monday face what could be weeks in detention and possible deportation.
They are following the path of the "Dream Nine," a smaller group that attempted to enter the U.S. at Nogales, Arizona, in July. They requested asylum and were released after about two weeks in detention to await their turn before a judge. Monday's contingent expects something similar.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose officers determine who is admitted at the border, said privacy laws prohibited it from discussing any individual cases.