News and Commentary

Migrant Caravan Holds Mass Gay Wedding On U.S.-Mexico Border

Members of a “migrant caravan” that has been marching for weeks to reach the U.S.-Mexico border held a mass gay wedding on Saturday.

As many as seven couples in the LGTBQ community were wed, the Telegraph reports. Among them were Pedro Nehemias Pastor de Leon from Guatemala and Erick Alexander Duran Reyes from Honduras.

“This is a dream come true because in our countries you don’t see this and it’s something we have always wanted and today we had the opportunity and are very happy,” de Leon says in a video posted on the British newspaper’s website.

Some 3,000 people from the first of the caravans have arrived in Tijuana near San Diego and many hope to apply for asylum in the United States. But President Trump has vowed to keep them out and has dispatched troops to the border to repel them.

Asked Tuesday about those troops, Trump said: “Don’t worry about the Thanksgiving. These are tough people. They know what they’re doing and they’re great and they’ve done a great job.”

“If you look at what’s happening, Mexico — the people from Tijuana are saying, ‘Wow, these are tough people. They’re fighting us.’ They’re in fistfights all over the place. These are tough people that are coming in. Now I understand they have 500 people that have been designated as — let’s put it in a nice word — criminals. And these are the people that are coming in? No. You don’t have people coming in,” Trump said.

A federal judge on Monday barred the Trump administration from turning away refugees who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, saying all should be allowed to apply for asylum, regardless of how they entered America.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in favor of legal groups that filed lawsuits after Trump issued an executive order on November 9 that deemed any illegal border crossers ineligible for asylum if they crossed anywhere other than official ports of entry.

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said Tigar, a nominee of former President Barack Obama.

But the Trump administration argues the Trump executive order is “consistent with our immigration laws.”

“The President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so,” Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement after Trump took his action.

“Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it. Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility.”

Trump said November 9 on the White House lawn, “We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally.”

The Department of Homeland Security says some 70,000 people a year claim asylum after crossing at sites other than official ports of entry. But the judge’s ruling notes that under existing federal law, refugees can seek asylum “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” was used.

“Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry,” said Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the government alongside the American Civil Liberties Union. “It couldn’t be clearer.”