A caravan of Central American migrants is heading to the United States after taking Joe Biden’s immigration promises very seriously. Now, as the president-elect is about to take office, he will have to deal with the reception, retention or expulsion of thousands of people who aspire to fulfill his “American Dream.”
In an interview shared by The Hill, a member of the caravan cited Biden’s promise to suspend deportations for 100 days, even though he was referring to citizens already in the country.
“Biden gives us 100 days to get to the United States,” said the migrant who left Honduras, adding that he is fleeing a “bad situation” that was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“He gives us 100 days to get to the United States to get a legal status and get a better life for our children and our family,” said another immigrant who preferred to remain anonymous.
Biden promised to pave the way for legal permanent residency for those who are already in the country illegally; and also announced the suspension of deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for at least 100 days.
On Sunday, a Biden transition official told NBC News that migrants hoping to apply for asylum in the United States during the first weeks of the administration “must understand that they won’t be able to enter the United States immediately.”
Thomas Homan, former interim director of ICE told Fox News that he knew this would happen: “The things he said, the promises he made… like ending the Stay in Mexico Program and getting rid of private detention, putting a moratorium on deportations, preventing ICE from conducting workplace enforcement operations, providing free health care….who wouldn’t come to the greatest country on earth?”
“They are already on their way. They’re not going to wait in Mexico. They are going to try to cross the border. Sooner or later, even if they meet in Mexico City, (Biden) will open the gates,” Homan warned.
The caravan hopes that the new administration will reverse President Trump’s immigration policies and “immediately” allow asylum seekers to continue the process to live in the United States.
The organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras said it will release a list of demands for the Biden Administration, with elements that include a demand that the U.S. border be open to asylum seekers, as well as the elimination of the Stay in Mexico policy; an end to the separation of migrant families; and the “guarantee” of legal representation for asylum seekers.
Now, the president-elect will have to deal with the multitudinous caravan that hopes to be welcomed by the new administration; especially after Biden announced during his campaign that he would reverse many of the immigration measures taken by Trump.
Trump’s immigration measures that Biden promised to reverse
In October 2020 Trump marked almost 400 miles of border fence built on the southern border since 2017; however with Biden’s arrival in office construction will stop.
“Not one foot of wall will be built under my administration,” promised Biden who will now have to face the arrival of thousands of migrants.
The now president-elect also pledged on the campaign trail to impose a 100-day moratorium on deportation, significantly increase the refugee limit and eliminate a number of policies the administration has implemented to stem the flow of migrants.
Biden pledged to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs) that keep migrants in Mexico while their hearings take place.
This is Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” policy, which was criticized by Democrats for allegedly “endangering migrants”; but Trump officials say it has been key to ending the “catch and release” of migrants.
Border officials warn that ending such policies, including the 100-day moratorium on deportations, could lead to a surge at the border.
“When that happens, we will quickly outgrow our ability to hold these people and go back to the situation where we have to release people if the laws don’t change,” Tony Porvaznik, Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief, told Fox News.
Immigration proposals to Congress in the early days
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said the administration plans to create “greater efficiencies” to speed up the naturalization process, including reducing the amount of time needed to become a U.S. citizen from thirteen to eight years, offering certain members Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, automatic green cards and the addition of immigration judges to help eliminate delays in court hearings.
According to Harris, the full plan will be sent to Congress on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office.
Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said the president-elect will sign an executive order on immigration reform within the first 10 days of taking office that will “restore dignity to our immigration system and our political border and begin the difficult but critical work of reuniting families separated at the border.”