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Number of migrants waiting at US border surges to 40,000

(In this July 28, 2019, photo, Cameroonians wait in a rented apartment in Tijuana, Mexico, until their names are called to claim asylum in the U.S. The Cameroonian men who share 10 mattresses on the floor of a third-floor apartment above a barber shop walk every morning to the busiest U.S. border crossing with Mexico, hoping against all odds that it will be their lucky day to claim asylum. Their unlikely bet is that a sympathetic Mexican official will somehow find a spot for them. AP Photo: Elliot Spagat)

By ELLIOT SPAGAT, TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — At least 40,000 migrants who have reached the U.S. border with Mexico are on waiting lists for an initial attempt to seek asylum or are waiting for a court hearing in the U.S. after being sent back.

The figure — based on reporting by The Associated Press and Mexican government figures — represents a dramatic increase from the start of the year.

English-speaking Cameroonians fleeing atrocities of their French-speaking government helped push Tijuana’s asylum wait list to 10,000 on Sunday, up from 4,800 just three months earlier.

Turning Mexico into a waiting room for U.S. asylum seekers may be the Trump administration’s most forceful response yet to a surge of migrants seeking humanitarian protection, many of them Central American families.

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