The Guatemalan government has kept its word and prevented thousands of Hondurans, seeking a better quality of life, from advancing towards the United States. On the Mexican-American border, expectations are growing that the immigration situation may improve with the arrival of Biden to the presidency of the United States.
On January 20, the Guatemalan authorities continued the mass deportation of Honduran citizens who entered that country illegally. The action is part of a government plan to prevent migrants from entering its territory in the midst of the pandemic.
Guatemala has employed at least 500 members of the National Civil Police and another ten members of the Army to carry out the action. On January 18, a part of the caravan was dissolved when the authorities obstructed its passage, generating slight clashes. According to the EFE news agency, they did not seriously injure them.
According to the Guatemalan Migration Institute, as of January 19, some 3,300 Hondurans had been deported. In the last six days, the figure rises to 3,661, including 510 minors.
Likewise, the institution points out that hundreds of migrants have returned to Honduras of their own free will. Days ago, the Guatemalan government had announced that it would prevent the passage of Hondurans who do not comply with immigration rules, including the presentation of a negative test for Covid-19.
# Caravana2021 | At km. 140 was located a group of 25 people who were part of the migrant caravan, they will be given the necessary attention, documentation for the immigration check will be requested, if they do not comply, voluntary return will be promoted. pic.twitter.com/tcDoSISwd7
– Migration Guatemala (@MigracionGuate) January 20, 2021
According to official figures, at least 9,000 Hondurans left the town of San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, in various phases between January 13 and 15. His mission is to reach the United States to get away from the bad situation in his country, which was aggravated after the passage of Hurricane Iota.
Despite the dissolution of a part of the caravan, some migrants have arrived at the Tecún Umán border between Guatemala and Mexico in a trickle.
The Biden era, a halo of hope for migrants at the border
Kilometers further north of the continent, migrants waiting in Mexico for the resolution of their procedures to settle in the United States show confidence that the country’s new president, Joe Biden, will relax immigration policy after the harsh measures implemented during the Donald administration Trump.
After being sworn in, Biden signed a series of decrees. Among them is the one that seeks to protect the DACA program against the deportation of the “dreamers”, another to stop the construction of the wall with Mexico and one more to annul the migratory veto that prevents the entry into the United States of citizens of 11 countries.
“We are very happy, happy, they gave us hope back,” Jessica Valles, a Nicaraguan who is in the Mexican town of Ciudad Juárez, told AFP news agency.
Migration was a central issue of the Trump administration, which took a series of controversial measures such as the separation of families in an irregular situation, or the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.
Additionally, under Trump’s presidency, the United States sent some 60,000 migrants (mostly Central Americans) to Mexico under the ‘Stay in Mexico’ program, a policy that stipulates that asylum seekers must wait in Mexican territory for the resolution of their cases.
“The president’s priority, reflected in the order, is to responsibly manage the border, keep families together, encourage economic growth, address the causes of migration from Central America, and ensure that the United States continues to be a refuge for those fleeing from the persecution, “said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.
Additionally, Biden will present to Congress a project that will allow the naturalization of some 700,000 young people who arrived as illegal in their childhood, accompanying their parents, a group known as the “Dreamers.”
In the same way, it designs an assistance plan for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Additionally, it estimates additional resources for surveillance and border control.
However, for those waiting for their chance to settle in the United States, the socks still feel far away.
“It is a hope, I cannot say that it will happen because politicians promise a lot, but we wait for that to happen, that it gives us the opportunity,” said Dennys López, a Cuban immigrant who has been in Mexico for four years and has been waiting in Ciudad Juárez.
With EFE and AFP