As migrant caravans make their way from Central America to the U.S. border, a Biden transition team official is telling them that “help is on the way.”
The official, however, also said the mere fact of Joe Biden taking office Wednesday does not mean that all of President Donald Trump’s policies and efforts to protect the nation’s southern border can be done away with overnight.
That’s all well and good in the language of policymakers, but migrants on the road want and expect results, as shown in a statement from the migrant advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
“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 group said, according to Fox News.
“We will advocate that the Biden government honors its commitments,” it said.
“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the transition official said, without giving a timetable for how Biden will change immigration enforcement.
The official did say that those who have been waiting in Mexico to enter the U.S. while their asylum cases are being decided will have priority over newcomers.
Migrants who think the world will change when Biden is inaugurated “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” the official said.
Illegal immigrants “will not find when they get to the U.S. border that from Tuesday to Wednesday, things have changed overnight and ports are all open and they can come into the United States,” the official said.
But the official said just because illegal immigrants can’t expect the world to change overnight does not mean changes are not coming.
“There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” the official said.
“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.
But in Central America, the migrants are on the way.
On Friday, about 2,000 Honduran migrants entered Guatemala on their way north. As many as 9,000 Hondurans may be trekking toward the U.S. and will reach the border in a few weeks.
Not all will make it. The BBC reported that many of the migrants were turned back at the border with Guatemala.
Some, however, will keep trying.
“They have no heart,” Honduran migrant Dixón Vázquez, 29, said of Guatemalan troops who blocked the caravan’s path, according to The New York Times. “We are risking our lives. There is no work in Honduras, especially after the two cyclones and the pandemic. We are going to hold out until they let us continue.”
“Our goal is to reach the United States,” he said.
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