Desperate for the U.S. government to hear their pleas, a group of Russian asylum seekers are planning to hold a hunger strike on March 1.
Kate and Andrei are just two of the more than 200 Russians who are on Guam seeking asylum in the United States.
They arrived on Guam two years ago.
According to Kate, asylum seekers have different reasons for fleeing Russia. Some fled to Guam for political reasons, others for their religious affiliation and gender identity.
The couple spoke with K57’s Pauly Suba about their experience and what led them to the plan to hold the hunger strike.
“We came to Guam two years and two months. We do represent a big group of people, a group of Russian asylum seekers on Guam. Some of them have been waiting for 4 to 5 years,” Kate said.
Since then, they have been waiting for their case to be processed by USCIS. While on Guam, since they did not break any immigration law, they have work authorization, a social security number, and pay taxes just like everyone else.
However, they cannot freely travel from Guam to the United States mainland, which they say violates the international convention and protocol on the status of refugees.
“We also cannot move from Guam to the United States although we and other people really need it due to medical reasons and other reasons,” Kate said.
After going through the legal channels and without any recourse from the local and federal government, the couple and other asylum seekers are now planning to make their concerns more visible by organizing the hunger strike.
“We have tried and we have done everything … like letters … videos … we did everything …and only a strong and dangerous thing as a hunger strike can help us to move forward and actually resolve this problem,” Kate said.