As a crowd of around 6,000 caravan migrants sat in a crowded Tijuana camp in the rain on Thursday, one group of women decided to take drastic action in hopes of forcing the U.S. to rev up the asylum granting process and let them in.
They decided to go on a hunger strike.
“Several female members of the caravan have announced a hunger strike until US authorities speed up the asylum process, wrote Los Angeles Times reporter Kate Linthicum.
According to BuzzFeedNews reporter Adolfo Flores, they were also hoping to pressure Mexican authorities to let them stay camped out for a long time as they wait for the overburdened U.S. port of entry between Tijuana and San Diego to catch up.
“A group of women from the caravan just announced they’re going on a hunger strike in Tijuana to demand immediate Mexican temporary humanitarian visas while they wait for asylum in the US, the US to speed up the asylum process at the border, and stop to deportations of caravaners,” Flores wrote on Twitter.
The group is not large yet and consisted of only around a dozen women when it began Thursday afternoon. Their initial efforts to do the strike in a visible spot in front of the border barrier was blocked.
Meanwhile, Linthicum reported on Thursday as well that two-thirds of the caravan is made up of men, contradicting assertions that the migrating group is made up mostly of women and children seeking asylum. According to National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd, most of the men would not even be able to qualify for asylum.
“It's raining in Tijuana, and on the 6,151 migrants crammed into an overcrowded sports complex near the U.S. border. The latest caravan census: 3,936 men, 1,147 women and 1,068 children,” Linthicum wrote on Twitter.
While all of this is happening, the city of Tijuana is facing a budget crisis as they spend $30,000 a day to feed, protect, and house the migrants in one of their sports venues. The money runs out this week, according to city officials.
“We won’t compromise the resources of the residents of Tijuana. We won’t raise taxes tomorrow to pay for today’s problem,” said Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum.
The problem isn’t expected to go away anytime soon, though.
"Prepare ourselves to assume that a good part of them are going to be in this area of Mexico for the coming months," said incoming Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.