It didn’t take very long for a migrant caravan to form in Honduras and begin their journey to the United States in anticipation of Joe Biden taking office. More than 1,000 Hondurans departed a bus terminal Wednesday night headed to Guatemala. If they make it into Guatemala the caravan will continue on until it reaches the U.S. border.
Joe Biden has pledged to freeze deportations and give amnesty to 11M illegal immigrants in the first 100 days of his administration. His intention is to undo the Trump administration’s work to curb illegal immigration and secure the U.S.-Mexico border. The Trump administration has successfully entered into agreements with Central American countries and with Mexico to stop migrant caravans from successfully traveling to the U.S. border. Migrant caravans were frequently in the news in 2018 and after the Trump administration made it a priority to work with Central American countries to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, the caravans ended.
This caravan is populated with Hondurans who are leaving due to the devastation caused by two back-to-back hurricanes. The people are looking to Joe Biden to allow them to stay in America, if they make it to the border.
“We have asked God to help us and we believe that the new U.S. government will let us in,” said Bertha Méndez, a 25-year-old homemaker who had been living in a shack made up of plastic sheets and cardboard after heavy rains destroyed her house in the northern municipality of Choloma.
“I travel with eight people and we all think that this is a good opportunity because it is the only thing we have left after having lost everything in the floods,” Ms. Méndez added. She expects to reach the U.S. before the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.
Thanks to the success of the agreements between Central American countries and the United States concerning illegal immigration, this caravan may not make it past Guatemala, if it is allowed into that country. In October a caravan was turned away from the Guatemalan border. At that time, the caravan also consisted of 1,000 Hondurans trying to cross over into the United States. Fall is the traditional migrant caravan season and that caravan didn’t get very far. The Mexican government has deployed security forces at busy border crossings with Guatemala to limit access to Mexico. The Guatemalan government doesn’t want to rock the boat as it anticipates that the Biden administration will provide financial assistance.
Guatemala’s national police said they were preparing for the arrival of migrants at the border crossing of Agua Caliente, in the department of Esquipulas. “Preventive measures continue at the national level,” the police said on Twitter on Thursday, and posted a photograph of police vehicles parked by an empty border crossing. A Guatemalan migration official said migrants would be required to have a valid passport and a Covid-19 test to enter the country, requirements that few can meet and would likely lead to most being turned back.
The record-breaking hurricane season is to blame for this particular caravan. Like other caravans, it was organized through social media on Facebook and WhatsApp. The title used was “Looking for the American Dream.” Most of the Hondurans are traveling with backpacks containing few possessions. They have a few pants and shirts and little else. Most are wearing sports shoes in case they must run and many are wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. What are the odds of these people having valid passports and COVID-19 test results on them? These basic requirements from Guatemala will eliminate most, if not all of the migrants from continuing on through that country.
Hurricanes Eta and Iota were part of a record-setting Atlantic season that affected more than three million people in Honduras and close to one million in Guatemala, according to United Nations estimates. Heavy rains, floods and mudslides destroyed homes and roads and crippled an economy already suffering a deep contraction because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean expects Honduras’s gross domestic product to fall 8% this year.
Mark Morgan, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has been warning of a new wave of illegal immigrants arriving on the southern border since October, mostly in anticipation of Joe Biden winning the presidential election. The common perception, according to Morgan, is that the borders will be wide open in a Biden administration. Children and families, in particular, are heading to the border. Despite lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, the numbers of those apprehended at the border are increasing. In October, 4,630 unaccompanied children were taken into custody. In April, for example, that number was 712. The number of migrant families traveling to the border was reported to be 4,501 in October. That number was 716 in April. In November, during a six-day period, 1,000 children were taken into custody. You see where this is going. Why wouldn’t Central Americans try to come to America after hearing the promises of Democrats who want to abolish ICE, fire the border patrol, and receive blanket amnesty if Joe Biden is promising to enable them?
It is hard to imagine that those who protect our borders in the border patrol and enforce immigration law in ICE will be receiving much support from Joe Biden and his administration. Especially in a pandemic, this puts Americans at risk. The rise in unaccompanied minors is particularly troubling. The fear is that it will be a replication of the child migrant crisis during the Obama administration in 2014. It may also produce a larger wave of families and unaccompanied youngsters like those who arrived seeking asylum in 2018. When confronted about the cages built during the Obama administration, Biden often throws Obama under the bus and says Obama was the president, not him. That indicates he’ll be much laxer in border enforcement. Biden will erase the good work that the Trump administration has done on the border with the sweep of a pen in his first 100 days in office.