31 Iraqis Ask for Asylum at US-Mexico Border, 125 Detained in Mexico
Thirty-one Iraqis asked for political asylum in the United States Wednesday after crossing the border from Mexico, where another 125 Iraqis were detained, officials said.
The 12 men, eight women and 11 children were in custody in the California border town of San Ysidro while the US Immigration and Naturalization Service considers their applications, said INS spokeswoman Lauren Mack.
Across the border, in Tijuana, 125 Iraqis were being held at an auditorium pending likely deportation, an immigration agency source told AFP.
The source said the Iraqis had apparently arrived by plane in the Mexican capital eight to 12 days ago and then traveled to the border city, where they were awaiting false passports.
In addition to the Iraqis, Mexican authorities detained 28 Salvadorans who were apparently in the country illegally.
In San Ysidro, Mack said the INS was trying to locate interpreters to help in the questioning of the would-be political refugees. San Diego -- some 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of Mexico -- is home to a large Iraqi community.
US law enforcement officials were in touch with their Mexican counterparts in Tijuana, Mack said.
The group of 31 appeared to be healthy, she added -- SAN YSIDRO, California (AFP)
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