A migrant caravan moving from Honduras toward the U.S. border called on the incoming Biden administration to honor their “commitments” to the migrants moving north, citing the incoming administration’s vow to ease Trump’s restrictions on asylum.
But on Sunday, an unnamed Biden transition official said that migrants hoping to claim asylum in the U.S. during the first few weeks of the new administration “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” NBC News reports.
More than 1,000 Honduran migrants moved into Guatemala on Friday without registering as part of a larger caravan that left a Honduran city earlier in the day.
The Associated Press reported that they are hoping for a warmer reception when they reach the U.S. border, and a statement issued by migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, on behalf of the caravan, said it expects the Biden administration to take action.
The Biden transition official, however, warned migrants against coming to the U.S. during the early days of the new administration, telling NBC that while “there’s help on the way,” now “is not the time to make the journey.”
“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official told the outlet.
“We have to provide a message that health 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.
President-elect Joe Biden has promised to reverse many of Trump’s policies on border security and immigration. He has promised to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which keeps migrants in Mexico as they await their political asylum hearings. The Trump administration has said the program has helped end the pull factors that bring migrants north, but critics say it is cruel and puts them at risk.
Biden has also promised a pathway to legal permanent residency for those in the country illegally and a moratorium on deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The migrants’ group also pointed to promises to end the asylum cooperative agreements the administration made with Northern Triangle countries.
President Trump warned last week that ending his policies and increasing incentives would lead to “a tidal wave of illegal immigration, a wave-like you’ve never seen before,” claiming that there were already signs of increased flows.