Eight members of the Central American migrant "caravan" were admitted Monday night to apply for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
They were the first group of migrants admitted from about 400 who reached the Mexico-U.S. border in recent days.
Some, including pregnant women and small children, made desperate attempts over the weekend to cross the border illegally through a dangerous canyon known for human and drug smuggling. Others were spotted attempting to scale a fence near the border.
The group, mostly Honduran nationals, started traveling across Mexico last month with hopes of seeking asylum in the U.S. Most claim their lives are in danger in their home countries where gang and drug violence is rampant.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection closed the San Diego border crossing facility on Sunday citing that it had reached capacity.
After more than a day, authorities allowed three mothers, four children, and an 18-year-old to enter, where they will stay until authorities determine whether or not they are eligible for a full asylum hearing.
Hundreds more remain camped outside El Chapparal port of entry on sidewalks waiting for admission.
What could happen to those who cross illegally?
U.S. officials and the Trump administration have repeatedly issued warnings to the group that they would face prosecution for attempting to enter the country illegally.
“Individuals of the ‘caravan’ seeking asylum or other similar claims should seek protections in the first safe country they enter, including Mexico,” Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said in a Customs and Border Protection statement.
“To anyone that is associated with this caravan, think before you act,” Scott added. “If anyone has encouraged you to illegally enter the United States, or make any false statements to U.S. government officials, they are giving you bad advice and they are placing you and your family at risk.”
Have there been arrests?
On Monday, authorities arrested 11 suspected members of the caravan after they illegally entered the country, Fox News reported.
Among those arrested were two Salvadorans, six Hondurans, and three Guatemalans, according to reports.
Officials charged 10 with a misdemeanor, and the other is charged with a felony after being deported previously.