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Hundreds of Honduran nationals have formed a caravan heading toward the United States, following a pair of natural disasters that tore through the region.
The caravan was organized on social media following two major hurricanes that hit the Central American country last month, just two weeks apart, with groups announcing on platforms when and where they would begin their travels from.
As of Thursday, there are currently two caravans in the works, according to Bloomberg, one scheduled to leave in the coming days and one in mid-January.
The exodus of Hondurans from their home country could serve as President-elect Biden’s first major challenge.
The 46th commander-in-chief has pledged to reverse President Trump’s hard-line immigration policies, but has not explained how he plans to handle the tens of thousands of migrants that Mexico has kept at bay at their own southern border under Trump.
“There are going to be caravans, and in the coming weeks it will increase,” said Jose Luis Gonzalez, coordinator of NGO the Guatemala Red Jesuita con Migrantes, told Bloomberg of the migrant surge. “People are no longer scared of the coronavirus. They’re going hungry, they’ve lost everything and some towns are still flooded.”
According to a senior Mexican official, speaking on condition of anonymity to the Washington Post last week, there are concerns among those in the government that any moves by Biden to undo some of Trump’s security measures could cause their southern border with Guatemala and Belize to become overwhelmed.
“Our southern border was a mess, and it’s under control now,” the official said, adding that Central America needed financial assistance to prevent a mass exodus of its people.
“They can’t wait for private investment to arrive.”
“We still need migration to be orderly. We can’t just have an endless stream of unidentified people transiting through the country with no authorization,” another senior Mexican official told the paper.
Guatemala, which sits between Honduras and Mexico, is now sounding the alarm over the impending potential crisis, with President Alejandro Giammattei warning that without help from wealthier nations, his citizens would flee to other nations as Hondurans invaded their borders.
“If we don’t want hoards of Central Americans looking to move to other countries with better living conditions, we have to make a wall of prosperity in Central America,” he said at an event in Honduras last month.
Reached for comment by Bloomberg, a Biden transition spokesman said, “President-elect Joe Biden will restore order, dignity and fairness to our immigration system. At its core, his immigration policy will be driven by the need to keep families together and end the disastrous policy of family separation.”
A spokesperson for Biden did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.
With Post wires