Biden confronted with migrant caravan challenge as he takes office

Monday, 18 January, 2021 - 22:47

Among the litany of challenges that will confront Joe Biden when he assumes office Wednesday will be handling a large migrant caravan currently making its way to America's southern border.

Friday, two groups of more than 3,000 Honduran migrants each pushed their way into Guatemala without registering as part of a larger caravan headed to the United States, the Associated Press reported. A third group entered Guatemala on Saturday. The migrants aim to reach Mexico, which is north of Guatemala, and eventually make their way to the United States border.

The organization Pueblos Sin Fronteras called on the U.S., Mexico and Central-American governments to allow the caravan to travel freely and seek asylum in the U.S. It asked the incoming Biden administration to "honor its commitments."

"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. "We will advocate that the Biden government honors its commitments."

Biden has promised to reverse many of the Trump administration's immigration policies. These include a rule that requires migrants to stay in Mexico as they await hearings, called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Critics say the MPP puts migrants at risk.

Biden would also stop building the border wall, offer amnesty to 11 million undocumented immigrants and more, in an ambitious plan announced in recent days.

Domingo Garcia, former president of the League of Latin American Citizens, said Biden warned activists Thursday that the Trump impeachment trial in the Senate may delay immigration changes within Biden's first 100 days, according to the Associated Press. A senior Bident transition official, meanwhile, told NBC News that asylum seekers will not be able to immediately enter the U.S. and that "the situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight."

Biden said during the presidential campaign that he would at least ask Congress to grant amnesty within his first 100 days.