Food is scarce, sanitary facilities are too few, and the only thing left to do is wait: after about two weeks in an emergency shelter at the U.S. Border, dozens of migrants from central america have given up and voluntarily started the return trip from mexico to their homelands.
A group of 105 people have been flown out on a federal police plane, the mexican migration service said on twitter. The authorities did not explain to which countries the migrants were taken. The bulk of the people currently in a so-called migrant caravan in the border city of tijuana are from honduras.
But others do not want to give up. "Return, i will not return," karla lorena sierra told the german press agency. "I’m going to apply for asylum, I’m just sorting out my papers," says the honduran. Many of the returnees had no family members in the u.S. To help them with the application, explains the woman, who lives with her husband and three children in the migrant hostel in the "benito juarez" sports complex.
One migrant, who only wanted to be called najil, said the situation in tijuana is difficult. "It’s a bit complicated because there are so many people waiting," explains the woman from honduras. She also hopes for asylum in the united states. The migrants asked U.S. Border authorities to accept and process more asylum requests per day. According to human rights organization amnesty international (AI), between 30 and 70 applications are processed every day. Around 2,000 applications are still outstanding, according to AI. The wait for people may extend to months.
Meanwhile, conditions in "benito juarez" deteriorate. More than 6,000 people are currently housed there. They sleep in the open. People share 28 toilets, there are not enough washing facilities either. More migrants reach tijuana every day. People fleeing violence and poverty in central america.
UN child protection agency unicef expressed deep concern about the situation of more than 1000 stranded children. "These children have limited access to essential things they need – including food, education, psychosocial support and health care," unicef in new york said. In addition, there was a constant risk that they were being exploited and mistreated. Unicef called on all governments involved to ensure that the children’s asylum claims were processed quickly and families could stay together.
Yanira, who is from el salvador and would only give her first name, says the situation in the shelter is difficult – but she wants to wait to apply for asylum in the U.S. They already have a number to submit their application at an unspecified time. "Even though we are in a bad way," the woman says, "we have to wait."