This is a modern-day Ellis Island, a place where migrants from around the world arrive seeking the American dream.

But unlike 12 million who entered the US through the famous New York gateway, those who reach Brownsville have been told they are not welcome.

President Donald Trump wants to build a £4.4billion wall to keep the refugees out and has viciously attacked the caravans that started in Mexico.

However, a band of volunteers called Team Brownsville cannot watch the suffering and do nothing.

They refuse to simply stand by.

Every morning at 6am, the team’s founders Mike Benavides and Spanish-speaking partner Sergio Cordova greet people from the local detention centre to provide them with clothing, food and help with a bus ticket if they need it.

Volunteer Anne Finch and group organiser Michael Benavides who both feed immigrants on the Mexican border

We visited Brownsville on the first day of a 1,900-mile drive along the entire US border with Mexico to meet those most affected on what could be both sides of Trump’s wall.

It is the most easterly legal port of entry to the States on the border.

As we walked with Team Brownsville’s Ann Finch, 72, from Austin, Texas, Sage McKee, 67 from Spokane, Washington, and Pam Hancock, 70, from Denton, Texas, we were waved through by Mexican border patrol.

We saw around 20 refugees waiting to be called by US authorities to begin their application for asylum.

“It is shameful what the States has become under Trump,” says Sage. “A country built by immigrants turns their back on them.”

Pam goes further. “Trump is a disgrace,” she storms.

The policy, which Trump has tried to tie in to his country's sense of patriotism, has divided Americans

“He has no empathy or compassion. You only need to listen to these people’s stories to understand what they have been through.”

Migrants have been surging into Matamoros, just across the border and one of the most dangerous areas in the world thanks to drug cartel violence.

Those lucky enough to make it past the gangs arrive at the crossing with the just the clothes on their backs.

School administrator Mike says the group have helped around 10,000 migrants from more than 40 countries.

Each applies for asylum and if accepted they are held in a detention centre until a sponsor is found.

Trump insisted that a wall was on its way during his State of the Union address

If the application is successful, the sponsor pays a bond and they are dropped in Guantanamo Bay-type clothing at the local bus station.

We meet Jacquelinne Jennifer Puentes Aguilar, who says she would have been killed if she has stayed in El Congo in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

Married for 15 years, raising her three children and her late sister’s son, the 38-year-old and her husband built up a small business selling clothes.

But when gangster thugs learned of their modest success they demanded not only her earnings, but also her husband too.

Arlington Jesus Gillen Carols and Jacquline Jennifer Puentes Aguilar eat a meal delivered by volunteers
 

She says: “My husband had to join the gang to save us from being slaughtered. But they still wanted money. When I told them I couldn’t pay they threatened to kill my children and me.

“I couldn’t stay. I left my children with my parents and fled.

“My husband is now in prison. I know I will never see him again.”

Jacquelinne got to Mexico by foot and by bus. Once she made it into the country, she landed a job on a ranch but was held against her will before managing to escape.

Brownsville is a place of misery for those seeking asylum
 

Now, seven months after leaving her homeland, she is waiting to be processed into America’s asylum system, which could take 18 months.

Lamin Jallow, 28, fled Brikama, The Gambia, after it emerged he had been secretly having an eight-year gay relationship and his boyfriend was killed.

“Homosexuality is illegal in my country,” he says.

“The punishment by the courts I could handle. The justice administered by the local community I could not.

“I would be lynched like my boyfriend was before being killed. My father wanted me dead.”

Lamin travelled through Senegal and managed to reach Ecuador, where he was granted a visa. After that expired, he set off north.

Lamin Jallow from Brikama, Gambia, escaped his country after being persecuted for his sexuality
 

It took him a year and a half to walk to the US border, sleeping by day and travelling by night
for safety.

He is also waiting patiently at the border in Brownsville for his name to be called.

Selfless Mike says he is hoping to take early retirement this year to dedicate himself full-time to the migrants.

He says of those he has helped: “Despite what Trump would have the world believe, not one was near a bad person. It’s a lie. They are not rapists or killers or gang members.

Chris Bucktin holding a piece of tin that was laid over the barbed wire
 

“These people are young people who are running away from all that. They are pressured to join the gangs, and if they refuse their families are threatened or killed.

“They merely want to live a life without violence and crime.

“History will judge America for its treatment of migrants under Trump.”

'Trump is standing up for us — migrants cross my land daily'

For Vietnam special forces veteran Bill Miller, the only man who can liberate what he sees as his under-seige community is Donald Trump.

Miller, 80, proudly flies a flag dedicated to the President outside his home, in a warning sign to the hundreds of illegal migrants he claims walk through his land every week.

He said: “Donald Trump is the only man standing up for us.

“He is the most honest President this country has ever had, and if a liberal stepped on my land, I’d shoot them. I have migrants coming across my land every day, all of them illegally. All there is now where I am is a fence. The wall needs to be built.

“There people are bringing crime and disease to this country, and they need to be stopped.”

Miller lives along Route 9, in the border village of Columbus, New Mexico. He is one of hundreds of locals who support Trump’s wall.

Many have bought dogs for protection from migrants, while others erected fences along their properties.

Bill Millers is a devout Trump supporter based in Columbus, New Mexico

Columbus and nearby Hachita are the closest populated places to the Antelope Wells port of entry.

A week ago, a group of 306 migrants were apprehended at the border crossing – the 26th group of 100 people or more since October.

They come after the port of entry closes at 4pm, usually at night, and walk around the barriers.

The Mirror found metal sheeting that migrants used to climb over the primitive barrier, just yards from the official crossing.

Dan Stalnaker, 45, who lives in Hachita, said immigration is a “cause for huge concern”.

He said: “The migrants are taking a huge toll on the American taxpayer. Something needs to be done.”

But Mike Sims, 70, says local Border Patrol agents think the wall is “the dumbest idea”.

He added: “If an illegal migrant is determined enough, they’ll find a way to get around it. We need our border patrols to be given better resources.”