/ Modified oct 22, 2020 10:25 a.m.

Young asylum seekers in Nogales share their stories, plead for relief

nogalesmarch1 VIEW LARGER Children who are waiting for asylum in the United States with their families in Nogales, Sonora, marched to the border wall Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, to ask the United States to open the border to them.
Sara Ritchie

Migrants and supporters marched to the border wall in Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Arizona, on Wednesday to highlight the stories of children waiting south of the border to ask for asylum in the United States.

Standing next to the rust-colored steel slats of border wall in Nogales, Sonora, a young girl read off a list of names of children waiting to ask for asylum in the United States.

There was Jesus, 10, from Venezuela, who wants to be a chef. Alessandra Michelle, 11, of Honduras, who wants to be a nurse. And Juan, 5, who just hoped for "a safe future and better opportunities to continue his schooling."

They were among dozens of children who marched through Nogales, Wednesday chanting, singing and holding up handmade signs, all seeking access to asylum in the United States.

Several children took turns leading prayers, telling their stories about the dangers that drove their families from their homes and their long waits at the border. In a statement directed at President Donald Trump, 10-year-old Fanny, from Guerrero, Mexico, pleaded for the United States to open up the border to families like hers.

nogalesmarch2 VIEW LARGER Fanny, 10, tells her story of fleeing threats and violence in her home state of Guerrero, Mexico, during a protest at the border wall in Nogales, Sonora, on Oct. 21, 2020.
Sara Ritchie

"I'm asking you to open the border. Please, listen to us," she said, reading her statement out of a notebook she was carrying along with the sign she made. "I ask God to soften your heart, and to help us, please. We have suffered so much here. We are defenseless children."

The event, organized by the group Save Asylum, was meant to bring attention to the impacts U.S. asylum policies have on migrant children and their families.

And protesters on the north side of the border held up their own signs calling for more humane immigration policies and cheered for asylum seekers on the other side of the wall in an effort to show their support.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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