In the vacuum of authoritative information, rumors circulated among the migrants and their supporters.
Caravan organizers said they had been told by Customs and Border Protection agents that no asylum seekers had been processed at the San Ysidro entry for three days, and that the caravan’s migrants could be waiting another several days or longer before they would get a chance to petition for asylum.
Most of the migrants, however, had adopted mind-sets of hardened patience.
“Really, nobody’s said anything,” said Arnaldo Rivera, 40, who fled his native Honduras with his wife and five children after the family was threatened by a gang. They were among about 200 migrants who were waiting outside the entrance to the border crossing on Sunday, eating donated food and using a nearby public bathroom.
The family had staked out a patch of the pedestrian plaza by spreading out a blanket and demarcating it with a few knapsacks containing their worldly belongings.
“It could be this afternoon, it could be tomorrow,” he said, shrugging. “God has the last word.”
Late Sunday, local, state and federal authorities tried to persuade the migrants to decamp from the pedestrian plaza and spend the night in migrant shelters. But in an act of communal defiance, the caravan’s participants elected to remain where they were. As the officials walked away, the migrants applauded and cheered.