TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – A handful of thousands of Central American migrants camped on the US-Mexico border and waiting to file their asylum application in the US went on a hunger strike Thursday to protest against the blockade of Mexican Police protest their way.
A migrant, part of a Central American caravan attempting to reach the United States, temporarily pushes another mover in a wheelbarrow into an emergency shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 29, 201
The Mexican immigration authorities began on Thursday to transport some of the migrants over buses to a new shelter to reduce the burden.
Under the tight immigration policies of US President Donald Trump, US border officials say they may have to stay in Mexico for months before they can file a petition with the authorities.
US. Customs and border guards fired tear gas canisters from dozens of migrants to Mexico, who wanted to raid the border fence on Sunday.
On Thursday, when a steady rain fell and partially overrun the sports complex that served as the main shelter, it was the Mexican police who arrested more than a dozen caravan migrants approaching the nearby El Chaparral border crossing.
"What the police are doing is unfair. The truth is that we are fighting for our rights, "said one of the migrants, Gerson Madrid, a 22-year-old Honduran who started the trek to the United States in early October to better look after a young daughter he left behind ,
Madrid said the group started a three-day hunger strike to draw attention to the stalemate.
"Why are we (the police) treating each other like that if we do not cause trouble for them or the Mexicans?" He asked.
Mexican Human Rights Commission officials said the new facility, which opened on Thursday, is larger than the sports complex, which could only accommodate about 2,000 people and ensure that migrants are not forced to sleep outside.
The overcrowding, along with cooler temperatures and rain, has already helped migrants spread diseases, including flu-like illnesses, lice and chickenpox, according to city officials who refused to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Despite the conditions, many caravan migrants seemed determined to wait while it lasted, with more than 600 work permits applied for in Mexico earlier this week.
Trump threatened to "permanently" close the US-Mexican border if Mexico did not deport the people gathered in Tijuana.
The Mexican government has pushed back, arguing that migrants have a right to ask US officials for asylum. US agencies said this week, asylum seekers fleeing violence or persecution are entitled to apply for refuge.
Reporting by Christine Murray; Letter from David Alire Garcia; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall