MaN cONvicTEd iN charlOTTEsvillE murdEr
Thousands of Central American migrants spent weeks traveling north through Mexico in caravans, walking and hitching rides when possible, only for many to give up hope and turn back when they met resistance at the US border.
Others hopped the border fence, often directly into the hands of immigration authorities on the US side, while still others dug in at temporary lodgings in Tijuana for the long process of seeking asylum from a reluctant US government.
As rain poured down on a former music venue in Tijuana that holds a diminished crowd of 2,500 migrants, Jessica, 18, grabbed her feverish 1-year-old daughter and took her inside to a friend while she figured out what to do with her broken tent.
Jessica had traveled from El Salvador, and said she and her husband were waiting in the Barretal camp for the right moment to try to cross the border illegally.
“Getting asylum is really difficult,” she said. “They ask you for a lot of evidence and it’s impossible. It’s not like they say it is.”
Other migrants face the same dilemma. Of 6,000 who arrived in Tijuana in the caravans last month, 1,000 have scrambled over border fences, and most of those were detained, the head of Mexico’s civil protection agency David Leon told local media on Wednesday.
A further 1,000 have accepted voluntary deportation, he said, while others are living on the street outside the municipal sports center where they first arrived, or in smaller shelters. The director of the Barretal camp, Mario Medina, said he expected hundreds more to arrive within days. A white nationalist who drove his car into a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, killing one of the counterdemonstrators, was found guilty on Friday of first-degree murder and nine other counts.
The jury deliberated for about seven hours before convicting James Fields, 21, of all charges stemming from the deadly attack that occurred after police had declared an unlawful assembly and cleared a city park of white supremacists gathered for the “Unite the Right” rally. Fields, who did not take the witness stand to defend himself, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. The 12 members of the mostly white jury—seven women and five men—were to return to court on Monday for the start of the penalty phase of the trial. Defense attorneys never disputed that Fields was behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger that sent bodies flying when it crashed into a crowd on 12 August 2017, killing counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32 and injuring 19 others.
Instead, Fields’ lawyers suggested during the two-week trial that he felt intimidated by a hostile crowd and acted to protect himself.