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Members of the Central American Exodus and Solidarity Human Rights Defenders Declare Hunger Strike

In search of dialogue and solutions to the humanitarian crisis created after the arrival of the Central American Exodus to Tijuana, a group of members of the Exodus together with solidary human rights defenders have declared a hunger strike outside of El Chaparral “PedWest” port of entry in Tijuana, B.C. on November 30, 2018.

Among the requests, members of the Central American Exodus and human rights defenders request that Sidney Aki, Director of the Garita de San Ysidro, Sandy Carrillo, Assistant Director of the Garita San Ysidro, and Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner of the Office of US Customs and Border Protection.

  1. Facilitate access to the asylum process in the United State and immediately increase the number of asylum seekers processed in the San Ysidro ports of entry to 300 people per day.

According to the United States Federal Code Title 8, Section 1225, any individual who has a fear of returning to their country of origin has the right to approach a port of entry in the United States and be received immediately to begin the process of requesting asylum and be protected against persecution. Logitsically, the San Ysidro ports of entry consist of two pedestrian bridges: El Chaparral “PedWest” pedestrian bridge, with the capacity to process and detain 316 people at a time, and the new “PedEast” pedestrian bridge, with a larger capacity to process and hold hundreds of people at a time (exact capacity unknown). Despite this large port capacity, and even in the context of thousands of Central American asylum seekers from the Exodus to Tijuana, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in San Ysidro has intentionally maintained the number of asylum seekers processed at an inconceivable average of 50 per day. In consideration of logistical issues such as space, personnel, etc., we request an immediate increase in the number of asylum seekers processed to 300 people per day at the San Ysidro ports of entry.

Additionally, we request that Tonatiuh Guillén López, Head of the National Institute of Migration (INM) of Mexico:

  1. Streamline procedures for Humanitarian Visa applications and results with the installation of INM regularization modules near the new Barretal shelter as well as other central places in Tijuana.
  2. That a commission be formed on behalf of the new government of Mexico that meets in Tijuana to negotiate solutions for those who want to stay in Mexico
  3. That they do not collaborate with the municipal police of the immediate deportation of migrants detained for administrative offenses or for arbitrary reasons.
  4. That they do not detain or hinder access to asylum seekers in their approach to the San Ysidro port of entry or on the pedestrian bridge itself.

CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRATORY EXODUS

On the path…with dignity!