Dozens of Cubans protested at the U.S. border in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez on Tuesday night, demanding they be allowed to cross and claim asylum in the United States.
U.S. authorities, including police in anti-riot gear, closed off the bridge that leads into El Paso, Texas, with a concrete barrier topped with barbed wire.
A recording blared from a loudspeaker warning that any person who crossed could be arrested.
Late into the evening, some 200 migrants who had walked right up to the barrier stayed put.
Jonathan Castro, 25, said he has spent one year and eight months in Mexico after attempting to request asylum in the United States, and is prepared to protest at the bridge throughout the night.
Like many other Cubans, he was sent back across the border under the “Remain in Mexico” program – a key piece of U.S. President Donald Trump’s hardline policy to curb migration by making asylum seekers wait out their proceedings in Mexico.
“We’re fed up waiting,” he said, adding that the group had formed at the border after word circulated that U.S. authorities were prepared to let them cross.
Cuban migrant Rauvel Tejeda, who has spent nearly as long in Mexico under the same circumstances, said he was tired of poor treatment by Mexican police, and wanted “a little bit of help” from both Mexico and the United States.