The transition team for President-elect Joe Biden is warning thousands of Honduran immigrants flocking to the U.S. border seeking entry that they may end up waiting in Mexico for a while before their asylum claims can be processed.
An official with the transition team told NBC News that the incoming administration was going to prioritize immigrants that have already filed claims and who are currently staying just across the border in Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP). The MPP requires that those seeking asylum must stay in northern Mexico while their claims are processed in the U.S.
“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the anonymous Biden team official told NBC News. “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey.”
“We have to provide a message that help 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,” the official said.
Thousands of migrants have begun traveling to the United States with the expectation that Biden will relax strict border policies put in place by President Donald Trump. A caravan of about 9,000 Honduran migrants is currently working its way to the U.S. border. On Friday, 2,000 members of the caravan overwhelmed Guatemalan authorities and pushed through border checkpoints without presenting identification. As The Daily Wire reports:
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is top of mind for several Central American governments as the caravan began its long journey. On Wednesday night, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei called for a “state of prevention” along the border with Honduras, noting “the threat of migrants entering without required documentation and without following pandemic-related screening at the border,” and that “more than 2,000 national police and soldiers would be stationed at the border.” The country will also require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before allowing entry.
In Mexico, the country’s National Immigration Institute “posted videos showing hundreds of agents and National Guard members drilling on the southern border. It said the agents are ‘keeping vigilant in the states of southern Mexico … to enforce the immigration law.’”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan tried to deter the migrant caravan last week, telling the migrants that the trip north would “waste your time and money.”
“The dangerous journey both puts you in harm’s way and endangers the lives and health of those in the US and regional countries through the potential spread of Covid-19,” Morgan said.
The Biden team reportedly intends to prioritize millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. during his first days in office. He plans to offer legal status to about 11 million illegal immigrants. As The Daily Wire reports:
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 the issue — an issue on which he is diametrically opposed to President Trump, who sought to shut down the southern border with Mexico and banned foreigners from several countries from coming into the U.S.