Deportees Try to Cross into U.S. En Masse - NBC4 Washington
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Deportees Try to Cross into U.S. En Masse



    Dozens of families tried to make a bold crossing into the U.S. from Mexico en masse Monday.

    The National Immigrant Youth Alliance planned the demonstration months ago in an effort to reunite families separated by an international border. 

    Organizers say the people participating had been sent back to their home countries for various reasons. Many had been deported.

    Those trying to cross asked for asylum in the U.S. coming from Mexico, organizers said.

    Approximately 200 people gathered on the pedestrian bridge on the U.S. side of the Otay Mesa border crossing to support their loved ones in the protest.

    On the Mexico side, women held babies and small toddlers as they marched and chanted.

    One of the woman, Shirlene Rodriguez, has a son who was undocumented. He voluntarily returned to Mexico a year ago.

    "He definitely belongs in this country with the opportunities that we have here for him and with his family," Rodriguez said. 

    Some of the protestors wore their high school graduation robes and talked about being excited to return to different states in the U.S., including Washington, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina.

    “I’m going back home, that’s all I gotta say,” said one young man. “San Jose, California.”

    Another man stood at the turnstile and spoke into a video camera, pledging to return to his friends and family in New Jersey.

    However, not all of those protesting were in favor those trying to cross over. 

    "I consider illegal immigration to be an invasion against the sovereignty of the United States," said undocumented immigration opponent Gerry Nance. 

    Alliance organizers claimed around a dozen undocumented students -- or so called "dreamers" -- were being processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. That means they were not detained, but the agents were discussing their immigration options with them.

    Meanwhile, organizers contacted their parents to be on standby to come pick their children up.

    CBP officials could not confirm this because they told NBC 7 it's against their policy to discuss immigration cases. 

    In November, a large number of people launched a coordinated border crossing that led to violence between the participants and U.S. Border Patrol agents.

    More than 100 people pelted the agents with rocks and bottles in that incident. Even with backup assistance, the agents were outnumbered by the crowd.

    Despite potential for a much bigger disaster, in the end, most walked away from the chaos wiping pepper spray from their eyes. No one was seriously injured, and no one made it past border agents in that November clash.