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Asylum Seekers In Nogales Ask President-Elect Biden To Make Their Cause A Priority

Migrants and asylum seekers held a protest at the border wall in Nogales, Sonora Wednesday urging the incoming Biden administration to immediately resume asylum proceedings upon taking office.

“President-elect Biden, save asylum,” dozens of asylum seekers chanted as they march to the border wall in Nogales.

Some have been waiting a year or more for U.S. asylum, often in difficult and dangerous situations, and several asylum seekers shared their experiencesof fleeing persecution in Venezuela, Cuba and southern Mexico.  This protest is one of several organized by the Save Asylum coalition in recent months to protest the dismantling of the U.S. asylum system.

Now, asylum seekers are directly urging the incoming U.S. presidential administration to make restoring the right to asylum a priority, through  a letter written and signed by thousands of asylum seekers in Nogales and other border towns.

"At the US-Mexico border, there are thousands of families in danger and waiting for a positive response to their asylum claims for more than a year," the letter reads. "As you can imagine, this has been detrimental to these men, women, girls, and boys. For the sake of their lives, we ask that as soon as you assume leadership that you respect their right to asylum in the following ways …"

The letter asks the Biden administration to immediately open the U.S.-Mexico border to asylum seekers and end Title 42 expulsion, eliminate the so-called “Remain In Mexico” program and do away with a waitlist that often leaves asylum seekers stranded in Mexico for months before being allowed to seek relief. It also demands the elimination of family separations and that asylum seekers be guaranteed legal representation.

During the protest, migrants delivered the letter to a representative for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in attendance at the rally.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.