President-elect Joe Biden promised to ease immigration rules put in place by President Donald Trump.

A Honduran migrant caravan with thousands of people started making its way to the border, which could cause Biden to break a promise at the start of his administration.

Biden’s Plan

People within Biden’s team has said the new president wants to offer “a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the country without legal status.”

The plan also offers “a shorter pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of people with temporary protected status and beneficiaries of” DACA.

Team officials did not comment, but The Los Angeles Times reported:

But on Saturday, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, sent a memo to the administration’s senior staff that said the new president’s agenda includes “the immigration bill he will send to Congress on his first day in office,” which Klain asserted would “restore humanity to our immigration system.”

Biden’s proposal lays out what would be the most sweeping and comprehensive immigration package since President Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted legal status to 3 million people who were in the country without documentation.

Under Biden’s plan, immigrants would become eligible for legal permanent residence after five years and for U.S. citizenship after an additional three years — a faster path to citizenship than in previous immigration bills.

The Caravan

People believe 9,000 Hondurans have set out towards the border. Over 2,000 migrants made their way past Guatemalan authorities on Friday night.

Guatemala set up a roadblock to stop the Hondurans, but not out of hatred. President Alejandro Giammattei refused any caravans due to COVID-19. Many of the people did not wear masks, have documentation, or proof of a negative test.

The Hondurans tried to use the sympathy card by “appealing to the soldiers as fellow South Americans.”

The Guatemalan soldiers began to use force over the weekend after the 2,000 migrants got through on Friday night. They used tear gas and batons.

One migrant said he “didn’t come with the intention of looking for problems with anybody,” nor are any of them “looking for trouble.”

But as stated above, Guatemala has strict rules about coming into the country like other countries, including the United States.

It turns out “that 21 of the migrants sought medical attention at health centers and tested positive for the coronavirus.”

Guatemalan officials demanded Honduran officials “contain the mass exit of its inhabitants.”

Caravan Misunderstanding

A senior Biden transition team official told NBC News that the administration wants the Hondurans to know that they cannot just come into America:

“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.

The senior Biden transition official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said those who have been waiting at the border, along with other vulnerable populations, will be a priority for processing and entry, rather than those who have recently arrived.

The official said migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. to claim asylum in the first few weeks of the new administration “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately.”

The official reminded the caravan that Biden’s bill would only apply to those “already living in the U.S.”

The official said that the Biden administration would eventually “set up a way to safely process migrants at the border and allow asylum seekers to make their claims.”

This person did not tell NBC News what the migrants will face if they reach the border.

Incoming Biden domestic policy advisor Susan Rice spoke to Spanish wire service EFE (via Fox News):

“Processing capacity at the border is not like a light that you can just switch on and off,” incoming Biden domestic policy adviser Susan Rice told Spanish wire service EFE. “Migrants and asylum seekers absolutely should not believe those in the region peddling the idea that the border will suddenly be fully open to process everyone on Day 1. It will not.”

“Our priority is to reopen asylum processing at the border consistent with the capacity to do so safely and to protect public health, especially in the context of COVID-19,” she said. “This effort will begin immediately but it will take months to develop the capacity that we will need to reopen fully.”

Migrants Tell Biden to Honor His Commitments

The caravan gave a sign that it will not stop despite the problems in Guatemala and the problems it will likely face when it gets to Mexico.

From Fox News:

“We recognize the importance of the incoming Government of the United States having shown a strong commitment to migrants and asylum seekers, which 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. ” We will advocate that the Biden government honors its commitments.”

“A new United States Government is an opportunity to work with the Mexican Government to develop a cooperation plan with Central America to address the causes of migration, together with civil society organizations, as well as an opportunity to increase regional cooperation regarding the persons in need of protection, and to dismantle illegal and inhuman programs such as Remain in Mexico, the United States’ Asylum Cooperation Agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as the Title 42 expulsions by the United States authorities,” it said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) order that allows the U.S. to quickly remove migrants on public health grounds.

 

 
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