Mexico: Hunger-striking asylum seekers call for faster border processing

Source: India Abroad News Service
By Nidia Bautista

Tijuana, Mexico – Nubia Morazan looked after her one-year-old son as he played outside their tent propped up beneath a freeway overpass just inches from Tijuana car traffic.

It’s been more than 24 hours since Morazan has had a bite to eat, and she is willing to go days more without food if it helps draw attention to the plight of migrants and refugees waiting at the US-Mexico border.

Morazan is one of more than a dozen refugees and activists who started a hunger strike last week to pressure the United States‘ immigration officials to speed up the asylum process that is expected to require most of the more than 6,000 Central Americans, who arrived in Tijuana as part of a mass exodus, to wait at least two months to apply for asylum. The hunger strikers are also calling on the Mexican government to provide work visas while the migrants and refugees wait.

“We need the process to be faster because we don’t have a place to live,” Morazan says.

Those striking rotate every four days, living off only water and oral rehydration salts.

Morazan joined the strike with her husband after the city government closed the converted outdoor sports complex that sheltered thousands of migrants and refugees, and moved those willing to leave to a new shelter 20km away.

“This is a difficult environment for the children here in Tijuana. What we want is to be somewhere where they can study and have a better future,” she told Al Jazeera as her two children, who eat regularly while they join their parents in an encampment just a few metres from the pedestrian border crossing called the Chaparral.

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