A caravan of as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants headed toward the U.S. border is calling on the incoming Biden administration to honor its “commitments” to migrants and asylum seekers, referring to a December pledge to hone a “new approach” to migration issues.
Guatemalan security forces on Sunday used sticks and tear gas to beat back a large migrant caravan bound for the United States, just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The migrants, including families with young children, are fleeing poverty and violence in a region hammered by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November.
Migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras said in a statement that it recognizes the importance of the incoming administration “having shown a strong commitment to migrants and asylum seekers.”
The incoming administration “presents an opportunity for the governments of Mexico and Central America to develop policies and a migration management that respect and promote the human rights of the population in mobility,” the statement said, Fox News reported. “We will advocate that the Biden government honors its commitments.”
Biden’s campaign said on Dec. 19, 2020, that the former vice president and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowed in a phone call to hone a “new approach” to migration issues that “offers alternatives to undertaking the dangerous journey to the United States.”
President Donald Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a priority of his administration. Biden’s campaign has vowed to halt a Trump program called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), however the transition team has said it will take time.
Biden in January had promised to, on day one of a Biden presidency, “eliminate President Trump’s decision to limit asylum and end the” program that sees asylum seekers remain in Mexico while waiting for the claims to be adjudicated.
Biden’s campaign website says he will “take urgent action to undo Trump’s damage and reclaim America’s values,” including reasserting “America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees.” It says he would end Trump’s asylum policies, including the protocols.
Mark Morgan, acting chief of Customs and Border Protection, warned in a statement on Dec. 29 that rescinding humanitarian agreements that help protect America’s southern border would likely lead to “waves” of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border.
More than 67,000 migrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in November 2020, compared to the 33,500 apprehended in November 2019.
Zachary Stieber and Reuters contributed to this report.