Central American Migrants Begin Hunger Strike In Tijuana

A group within the 6,000 or so Central American migrants currently stuck in Tijuana have begun a hunger strike to try and pressure US and Mexican authorities to stop blocking their entry into the United States, and process their applications for asylum in the United States more quickly, according to DW

The group of protesters is part of the more than 6,000 migrants, mostly from Honduras, who have travelled by caravan towards the United States in the hope of applying for asylum and fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. They are now stuck at the border city of Tijuana, Mexico.

Many of those taking part in the hunger strike are women. -DW

"Since no one is listening to us, we've decided as a women's movement... to launch a hunger strike," announced Honduran Claudia Miranda during an improvised press conference in Tijuana. 

The migrants face long wait times and an uncertain future as they line up and put their names on a list to be heard for Asylum claims - which are currently being processed at a rate of less than 100 per day. Doing the math, it could be months before the roughly 6,000 migrants holed up in Tijuana shelters and a squalid soccer field camp are processed. Not only that, there is no guarantee they will be granted asylum - as migrants have to show evidence of valid claims.

The women were initially prevented from setting up a picket in front of the border immigration offices. 

"We're in really bad shape," Cindy Pinera told DW. "Everything is wet and that is hard for the babies." -DW

The migrants have been camped out at overcrowded shelters and an outdoor sports facility for the last three weeks, while Mexican authorities have begun transporting migrants to a new shelter in order to try and ease tensions and improve the migrants' living conditions as they wait for their asylum applications to be processed - which could take months. 

In response to President Trump's efforts to strengthen immigration policies and ban migrants who enter the country illegally from applying for asylum, many caravan members have requested humanitarian and working visas in Mexico instead. 

On Sunday, several hundred migrants attempted to breach the US border, resulting in the deployment of tear gas to stop the group from rushing the fence. Mexico vowed to deport those who "violently" charged the US border in response. 

Meanwhile, Fox News has reported that a member of the notorious MS-13 gang admitted to having traveled north with the migrant caravan before trying to enter the United States, bolstering claims by the Department of Homeland Security and President Trump that there are criminal elements among the group.