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Asylum Seekers at Valley Ports of Entry Being Denied Ability To Cross Into U.S.

HIDALGO, Texas - Asylum seekers at ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley are being denied the ability to cross into the United States.

One Cuban national says, "We experience persecution for no reason. The government tries to manipulate us, and it's not right because we can't express ourselves the way we want to."

Hundreds of Cuban nationals spend their days and nights waiting to start a new life in the U.S. They say they want to be free and create a better future for their families.

But what they don't expect to hear is that there is no space for them and they need to wait to make their claim of credible fear. Early last month U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions enacted the Zero Tolerance policy on immigration. It makes it a crime for all undocumented immigrants to enter the U.S., even people who ask for asylum.
Immigration Attorney Hugo Piña says, "In the past, people that were presenting themselves, were more likely to get a bond or let go by immigration, by customs. But with this zero-tolerance policy in that they have in place right now, it's less likely that's going to happen."

While many asylum seekers have been at a port of entry for almost a week now, they say they're grateful for U.S. citizens, who have been offering them snacks and other items to help them survive.

We reached out to Customs and Border Protection to comment on the situation. They say the number of inadmissible individuals CBP is able to process, varies based upon case complexity, available resources, medical needs, and holding space.

They also say they expect this to be a temporary situation.

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