With president-elect Joe Biden taking office in just two days, a caravan of thousands of migrants from Honduras is marching toward the U.S. border and over the weekend violently clashed with Guatemalan security forces, who used batons and sticks to beat them back.
Some 7,000 to 8,000 migrants are marching toward the U.S. southern border, according to Reuters.
Caravans made news in 2016 before Donald Trump won the White House, where he enacted hardline policies to cut off the flow of illegals into the country.
Some are blaming Biden’s soft policies for the re-emergence of the caravans. “The migrant caravans/9,000+ people coming to the US border from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, is a direct result of Biden’s radical Border plan that promises no deportations for 100 days, and citizenship for 11M illegals. These flawed policies reward people who break our laws,” wrote Amanda Makki, a 2020 Republican candidate for a Florida congressional seat.
The migrant caravans/9,000+ people coming to the US border from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, is a direct result of Biden’s radical Border plan that promises no deportations for 100 days, and citizenship for 11M illegals. These flawed policies reward people who break our laws.
— Amanda Makki (@amandamakki) January 18, 2021
As one of his first acts in office, Biden plans to ask Congress to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. Biden will announce legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions on his first day, according to The Associated Press.
The president-elect campaigned on diametrically opposing Trump on the issue, who sought to shut down the southern border with Mexico and banned people from several countries from coming into the U.S.
The caravan is calling on the incoming Biden administration to honor their “commitments” to the migrants, according to a statement issued by migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras on behalf of the caravan. The group cites Biden’s vow to ease Trump’s restrictions on asylum.
But on Sunday, an unnamed Biden transition official told NBC News that the migrants, many of whom hope to claim asylum in the U.S., “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately.”
“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official told the outlet. “We have to provide a message that health and hope is on the way, but coming right now does not make sense for their own safety…while we put into place processes that they may be able to access in the future.”
Biden has promised to overturn Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which keeps migrants in Mexico as they await their political asylum hearings in court.
Under Biden’s plan, illegal aliens would become eligible for legal permanent residence after five years and for U.S. citizenship after another three years, a faster path to citizenship than in other bills.
Democrats now control the House and on Jan. 19, when the Senate reconvenes, the two parties will each have 50 senators. After noon on Jan. 20, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the tiebreaking vote, giving Democrats control of that chamber, too.
If Congress passes Biden’s proposal, it would be the first time illegal aliens will be granted status since President Ronald Reagan bestowed amnesty on nearly 3 million people in 1986. Two other efforts to overhaul immigration policy failed in 2007 and 2013.
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