Immigrants, immigrant families. AFP.
Hundreds of people seeking asylum were left outdoors at the foot of the wall separating the United States and Mexico by border authorities for several days, condemning migrants and activists who described the situation as “shameful” and “alarming.”
“Some people developed skin diseases due to excessive sun exposure, burns and severe dehydration,” Adriana Jasso from the San Diego NGO American Friends Service Committee told AFP.
In the San Diego area of California, some people waited “15 hours, 18 hours (…), two days, two nights” in a dirt hallway between two walls to surrender to authorities. Mexico became independent from the United States.
“We had about 600 people on Sunday night, many of them children,” Jasso said. His NGO provided the migrants with water, food, sunscreen, blankets and hygiene products, and set up several tents on site to make it easier to charge mobile phones. .
Jasso explained that border authorities claim they don’t have the ability to mobilize migrants more quickly from about 20 countries, from Asia to Latin America. “But I think there’s a way to at least provide shade and water,” he wondered.
Colombian Diego Salazar, 32, said: “Some people are still enduring it, but what hurts the most is seeing the most vulnerable, children and women suffering from cold and heat.” “To see them endure it and sleep on the floor, plagued by mosquitoes.” He spent two months in Mexico attempting to surrender to U.S. authorities to apply for asylum.
While in Matamoros, he made his first appointment with Customs and Border Protection regarding a CBP One application.
But that promise never came, and after waiting a month while sleeping on the banks of the Rio Grande (the natural border with Mexico), he decided to go to the extreme opposite, Tijuana, and surrender to the Border Patrol at the wall.
When they arrived early Monday morning, they found hundreds of migrants sleeping on the floor.
Salazar said officers gave them bracelets every day, and the color of the bracelets “tells them it’s Monday and people were still there over the weekend.”
“Authorities outside the wall came and threw water (bottles) over the wall two or three times a day,” he said.
“Go back to your country.”
Treatment in some processing centers is also “very harsh,” Colombian Andrea Sanchez, 27, who was released on Thursday after a court order to discuss her immigration situation, told AFP.
“I sat there for four days with little sleep,” she said.
Sanchez said she shared a room with three toilets with no doors with about 250 women and children, adding: “I see a lot of children, little babies, lying on mats on the floor.” It’s sad,” he said.
“You couldn’t take a bath or brush your teeth (…), and menstruating women had to stay put.”
“For example, if you knock on the door, if you need a towel, if you need something, they’ll say, ‘Who told you to come to my country? This is my country. Go back to your country! With disrespect for your people,” Sanchez added, holding back tears.
“It’s worrying,” Jasso said, recalling that hundreds of migrants experienced a similar situation in May when authorities announced they were overburdened by the increased influx due to border policy changes. Told.
“They said they learned a lot in case the situation repeats itself,” he said. “The same situations were repeated and some of the same mistakes were made.”