Several hundred Cuban asylum seekers protested on the Mexican-US border into the early hours of December 30, pleading to be allowed into the US while their applications are processed.
US authorities deployed border agents and used barbed wire to block a bridge between El Paso, Texas and the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez where the crowd massed from late on December 29.
Cuban migrant Raudel Tejeda said: “The only thing we’re asking for is that they let us wait in the United States for our political asylum.”
The protesters alleged they had faced human rights violations while stuck in Mexico.
Another migrant Laura Garcia said: “We didn’t leave Cuba to live here in Mexico. The Mexican police mistreat us a lot. They ask us for money for everything. They kidnap us. There’s a lot of violence.”
Under US President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” programme, tens of thousands of non-Mexican asylum seekers have been sent back over the border pending the outcome of their applications.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to delays in the process and added to the migrants’ frustration.