Honduras caravan: Hungry migrants ask Joe Biden to 'honor his commitments' ahead of his inauguration
The Red Cross has estimated that up to 4,000 people could join the caravan, as Honduras reels from violence and an economy shattered by hurricanes and coronavirus lockdowns
Thousands of Hondurans are marching on foot across Guatemala in hopes of reaching the United States, authorities said on Saturday, January 16, as they flee violence and economic hardship worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic and recent deadly storms. The march came a few days before the presidential inauguration ceremony of Joe Biden, which will be taking place on January 20.
Guatemala’s immigration authority said on Saturday, January 16, that between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers had entered the country since Friday and were heading towards Mexico. The Red Cross has estimated that up to 4,000 people could join the caravan, as Honduras reels from violence and an economy shattered by hurricanes and coronavirus lockdowns.
"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," said a statement from Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a migrants' right group.
“We’re suffering from hunger,” said Óscar García while walking toward the Guatemala border. The banana plantation worker said his home had been destroyed in November’s hurricanes, and that he was fleeing north hoping to earn enough to send money back to support his mother and his young daughter. “It’s impossible to live in Honduras. There’s no work, there’s nothing,” he added.
Earlier, it was reported that Biden is planning legislation to offer legal status to 11 million immigrants without it. The controversial centerpiece by Biden will be a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the country without legal status, according to immigrant rights activists in communication with the Biden-Harris transition team.
Biden's approach will be a departure from outgoing President Donald Trump's hardline anti-immigrant policies. The twice-impeached president has characterized immigrants from Mexico as "rapists" who were "bringing drugs" and other criminal activity with them to the US.
Biden tweeted at the time that Trump was banning immigrants to distract from his administration’s pandemic response and that “immigrants help grow our economy and create jobs”. Under Biden’s plan, immigrants would become eligible for legal permanent residence in the country after five years and for US citizenship after an additional three years, which is a faster path to citizenship than in previous immigration bills.
Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action, a progressive group based in Washington that advocates for immigrants, described the bill as “an important opening act.”
With news of the arrival of the Guatemala caravan, the Internet quickly went abuzz. One Internet user slammed Biden and said, "Thanks, Joe - you cheating schmuck.... New Migrant Caravan Forms In Honduras Looking To Make The ‘Deadly Journey’ To The United States." Another said: "You can thank President elect Biden for giving them an open invitation Honduras: First migrant caravans of 2021 depart for US"
Thanks, Joe - you cheating schmuck....— President-Elect Still Daniel's NRA (@a_cotts) January 17, 2021
New Migrant Caravan Forms In Honduras Looking To Make The ‘Deadly Journey’ To The United States https://t.co/pcDDhENMtW
You can thank President elect Biden for giving them an open invitationhttps://t.co/G0YpRgxMSD Honduras: First migrant caravans of 2021 depart for US— DOROTHY LEY (@DOROTHYLEY2) January 17, 2021
While one wrote: "Crooked Hillary Clinton & Dodgy Barack Obama orchestrated a coup in Honduras & installed a dictator forcing people to flee Ousted Honduran President Zelaya: "The 2009 U.S.-Backed Coup Helped Cause Today’s Migrant Crisis," another replied saying, "Typical Republican bullsh*t. Scared of paper tigers. You should be worried about the FBI coming to see you bud, not migrants in Honduras."
Crooked Hillary Clinton & Dodgy Barack Obama orchestrated a coup in Honduras & installed a dictator forcing people to flee— 🎗⏳The Solitary Reaper🕉🍀 (@YonSolitary) January 17, 2021
Ousted Honduran President Zelaya :
"The 2009 U.S.-Backed Coup Helped Cause Today’s Migrant Crisis"https://t.co/qlUhUFDfss@RMendezRuiz @ColumbiaBugle RT
Typical Republican bullshit. Scared of paper tigers.— SunnySide (@SunnySi01962035) January 17, 2021
You should be worried about the FBI coming to see you bud, not migrants in Honduras.