A senior Biden transition official is warning migrants hoping to cross the southern border into the U.S. during the early days of the new administration that “now is not the time” to come.
“There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” an unnamed Biden official said, NBC News reported.
The Biden administration is looking to end the Trump administration’s policy of requiring that migrants wait in Mexico as immigration courts consider their asylum applications. Those who have been waiting at the border will be considered first for entry over migrants who only recently arrived. Additionally, the Biden administration will scrap the stricter restrictions the previous administration imposed on asylum seekers, which limit who is eligible for entry.
However, any immigration legislation proposed by the Biden administration will address illegal immigrants living in the U.S. rather than new migrants arriving at the border, the official said.
“The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official explained, saying that migrants seeking to gain asylum right away “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately.”
A caravan of about 2,000 Honduran migrants desperate to reach the U.S. forced their way past Guatemalan authorities Friday night and are expected to reach the southern border within the next few weeks.
The caravan “will not find when they get to the U.S. border that from Tuesday to Wednesday, things have changed overnight and ports are all open and they can come into the United States,” the official cautioned.
“We have to provide a message that help 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.
In 2018, just before the midterm elections, a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants headed for America’s southern border. Similarly, in early 2017, just before President Trump took office, a caravan made its way to the border, drawing the ire of Trump.