“The reason is, they do not want to allow them to put their foot on U.S. territory,” said Ruben García, director of a nonprofit called Annunciation House that offers shelter and services for immigrants and has been escorting migrants, including Angélica.

Once a person steps onto U.S. soil, they must be allowed to make an asylum claim under U.S. and international law.

García said he has accompanied 10 to 12 families up the bridge in the last four weeks. There are many that are unable to make their asylum claims, he said. In more than 40 years of advocacy, he had never seen border officers keep asylum seekers from making claims at ports of entry, he said.