Refugee Caravan Asylum Seekers 
By the Numbers Snapshot 5/31/17

Below are statistics about the members of the Refugee Caravan 2017 who we are currently monitoring as they request asylum in the United States. They are in many different parts of the process. These numbers are just one way to describe what is currently going on with this group of asylum seekers. A few statements follow. We would like to thank all of the refugees of the Refugee Caravan for their bravery and their dedication, for defending their right to seek refuge from violence and for fighting for safety and dignity. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the hundreds of people who supported this effort by volunteering their time, money and expertise.
Total Numbers:

Total number of individuals who have requested asylum: 108

Arriving Aliens versus Entry Without Inspection:

Number of individuals who requested asylum after entering the US at the San Isidro Port of Entry: 95
Number of individuals who requested asylum after entering the US in between ports of entry: 13

Breakdown by Nationality:

El Salvador: 40
Mexico: 33
Honduras: 18
Guatemala: 10
Guinea: 4
Nicaragua: 1
Sierra Leone: 1
Cameroon: 1


Adult Males: 36
Adult Females: 24
Minors: 48


Released: 55
Detained: 52 (out of 52 detained, 11 are minors, some under 5 years of age)
Deported: 1Of the 78 individuals who requested asylum at the port of entry on May 7th, about 70% have achieved release from detention.
In total, currently about half of the Refugee Caravan asylum seekers remain detained, including 11 children.
Credible Fear Interview Progress (interview by a trained asylum officer of USCIS, basically to determine whether someone has a high enough likelihood of winning an asylum case to be allowed to proceed to apply for asylum with immigration court)
Out of the group of 77* asylum seekers who crossed on May 7th:

Positive CFI determination: 45
Negative CFI determination: 0
Had CFI, no decision yet: 11
No CFI yet: 5
Paroled without CFI: 13
ORR (n/a): 3

Out of the total 108 asylum seekers currently being tracked:

Positive CFI determination: 45
Negative CFI determination: 0
No CFI yet: 27
Had CFI, no decision yet: 15
Paroled without CFI: 15
ORR: 5
Deported: 1

Family Separation

59 out of 108 individuals were separated from one or more members of their family upon entering the United StatesLocations
Detained, currently and previously:

Adelanto Detention Center, southern California
Otay Mesa Detention Center, southern California
Theo Lacy Detention Center, southern California
Florence Correctional Center, Arizona
Karnes Family Detention Center, Texas
South Texas Family Detention Center, Texas
Berks Family Detention Center, Pennsylvania

Already released to family and friends in:

New Jersey

Some percentages and statements drawn from these numbers

60% have passed the first legal hurdle in the US. That's because many Central Americans, Mexicans and many others ARE fleeing persecution and meet the standards for refugee status and have a right to seek asylum.  60% of the 108 asylum seekers of the Refugee Caravan who we are tracking have already been assured the right to apply for asylum in the United States and proceed with the asylum process. They have either passed a credible fear interview with an asylum officer, been paroled by CBP to directly apply for asylum in immigration court, or been processed as minors through the Office of Refugee Resettlement. They have fought for their right to due process, making it past the dangers of Mexico, the barriers at the border, and the first legal hurdles of the asylum process.

51% are incarcerated without having committed a crime. This has already cost US taxpayers approximately $300,000. These refugees are neither a flight risk nor a security risk and should be released immediately. Each and every one of these 108 asylum seekers came to the United States to save their lives. Nearly all of the 108 individuals spent at least a week in a privately owned for-profit immigration detention centers. The approximate cost of detaining someone in an adult immigration detention center is $160/day, and in a family immigration detention center it is $350/day. 47 individuals were sent to family detention for an approximate average of 10 days, costing about $164,500. 21 individuals have been in adult detention since May 7th, 12 since about May 10th, and 6 more since May 24th, costing about $133,920 so far. That's about $298,420. That's not counting the cost of the time those who were paroled were held by CBP, nor the cost of ORR for the minors, nor the cost of the 1 deportation. The adults will likely remain detained for at least 6 months, because under Trump ICE has hardly been granting parole. 
55% of the individuals who entered the US to request asylum were forcibly separated from one or more family members with whom they entered. Unjust Deportation

Regarding the one person who was deported. This person is the partner of one of the adult males currently detained at Adelanto Detention Center. She fled her home with her partner because of death threats based on her partner's journalistic work. After being detained she suffered various forms of abuse by US immigration officers. A male officer insisted on observing while she urinated when she was apprehended by Border Patrol, she was insulted frequently by officers, and she was physically assaulted by an officer who demanded that she "sit right" and "stand right" and kicked and pushed her. She was not able to make any phone calls while detained and did not have the phone numbers that her husband, from whom she was forcibly separated, had, so she was unable to communicate with anyone for support. She told many officers she was afraid of returning to her home country, but was ignored. She was deported in blatant disregard for her right to seek asylum, which was violated by officers who heard her claim fear and refused to refer her case to USCIS. We gathered this information from her after we made contact with her after she was deported.
Two other Refugee Caravan asylum seekers were nearly deported - ICE removed them from their cells in the middle of the night and took them to Los Angeles where they were to board a plane to El Salvador. They had not been granted credible fear interviews. They had insisted on multiple occasions that they had a fear of returning to El Salvador and were ignored. An attorney had communicated with ICE days before on their behalf requesting they be given credible fear interviews, and ICE failed to respond. Several other detainees contacted our team in the early morning after they had been removed from the detention center and we began contacting ICE in Los Angeles until they were forced to recognize that an attorney had requested CFIs for the two Salvadorans and they were separated from the group that was to be deported. They report that many others in the group that was deported also feared returning to El Salvador and were not given CFIs.

*Of the 78 individuals who crossed into the USA at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on May 7th, 2017, 1 was a US citizen child. He was returned to Mexico by CBP after US officials called the child's mother and intimidated her, saying if she did not go get the child he would be forcibly separated from his family and put in foster care.
**Communication with detained individuals can be challenging as it is expensive and restricted, so some information may not be completely current.


We profoundly thank the migrants and refugees who allowed us to work with them in this endeavor of accompany and work along with them. We have learned very much. Thank you for not given up in the journey and for giving us the honor to get to know your stories. 

We thank all people that was involved throughout the trajectory of part of it, for even the smallest detail. I a very admirable way to the titanic work of Irineo Mujica and Cristobal Sanchez. 

Arrival at San Ysidro  Port of Entry 

Agradecemos profundamente a lxs migrantes y refugiadxs que nos permitieron trabajar junto con ellxs en esta labor de acompañamiento.  Hemos aprendido mucho. Gracias por no claudicar, no rendirse en el camino y por darnos el honor de conocer sus historias. 

Agradecemos a toda persona que estuvo en toda la trayectoria o parte de ella, a cada detalle por pequeño que haya sido. De una manera admirable a la labor titánica de los compañeros Irineo Mujica y Cristobal Sanchez. 


Invitamos a todas las personas que participaron en la Caravana

nos ayuden a mejorar nuestro servicio de acompañamiento con su evaluación.  

!De antemano muchas gracias! 


Photography by   

Cultura Migrante