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US says crossing is full before caravan tries to seek asylum TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) – A group of Central Americans who journeyed in a caravan to the U.S. border resolved to turn themselves in and ask for asylum Sunday in a direct challenge to the Trump administration – only to have U.S. immigration officials announce that the San Diego crossing was already at capacity.

Nearly 200 migrants, many traveling with children, had decided to apply for protection at the nation’s busiest border crossing after many fled violence in their home countries, organizers said. The caravan got attention after President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet called it a threat to the United States.

Shortly before the migrants were expected to arrive, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said San Diego’s San Ysidro crossing would not immediately be able to handle more asylum seekers. It can hold about 300 people at a time, and officials had been warning that it might fill up.

"At this time, we have reached capacity at the San Ysidro port of entry for CBP officers to be able to bring additional persons traveling without appropriate entry documentation into the port of entry for processing," Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement. "Those individuals may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities."

Despite the announcement, about 50 people walked across a bridge and approached the port facility, but were not immediately accommodated by U.S. officials. They were being permitted to wait in passageways until room became available, and appeared prepared to wait overnight, according to Irineo Mujica, one of the organizers of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, an organization assisting the asylum speakers.

"They have been well aware that a caravan is going to arrive at the border," she said at a news conference. "The failure to prepare and failure to get sufficient agents and resources is not the fault of the most vulnerable among us. We can build a base in Iraq in under a week. We can’t process 200 refugees. I don’t believe it."

The Trump administration has been tracking the caravan since it started in Mexico on March 25 near the Guatemala border. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called the caravan "a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system."

Administration officials have railed against what they call America’s "catch and release" policies that allow people requesting asylum to be released from custody into the U.S. while their claims make their way through the courts, a process that can last a year.

Nefi Hernandez, 24, said a gang in his hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, threatened to kill him and his family if he did not sell drugs. He intended to seek asylum with his wife and baby daughter, who was born on the journey through Mexico.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said asylum claims will be resolved "efficiently and expeditiously." But she warned that any asylum seekers making false claims could be prosecuted, as could anyone who assists the migrants in doing so.

Asylum seekers are typically held for up to three days at the border and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If they pass an asylum officer’s initial screening, they may be detained or released into the U.S. with ankle monitors.