Hundreds of mostly Honduran migrants were removed from a road in Guatemala where they camped out after security forces blocked their path to the United States
Video footage on social media and local television showed lines of military and National Police officers wielding plastic shields as they moved down the road towards the asylum seekers near the Guatemalan village of Vado Hondo, some 34 miles from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador.
The removal was confirmed by the Guatemalan Institute of Migration a day after the administration of President-elect Joe Biden urged the migrants to return back to Honduras and their other native lands.
Guatemalan Police dissolves the caravan of thousands of people that blocked the road in Vado Hondo on Monday
Security remains high as migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras try to make their way to the United States in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on Monday
A cloud of teargas rises as Guatemalan soldiers and police clash with migrants at a roadblock on the highway. The roadblock was strategically placed at a chokepoint on the two-lane highway flanked by a tall mountainside and a wall leaving the migrants with few options
Migrants from a caravan seeking to reach the southern United States border were dispersed from a road in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on Monday
Migrants holding the American and Honduran flags block a road in the Guatemalan village of Vado Hondo before security forces removed them Monday
Cops arrest a Honduran migrant in Guatemala after he refused orders to disperse from a road where several thousand members of a caravan convened on Monday
A migrant cries along with her child after the police dispersed the caravan of thousands of people that blocked the road in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
Migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras on their way to the United States are blocked by security forces in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on Monday
Guatemalan security forces in the village of Vado Hondo fire tear gas while dispersing migrants from Honduras who were blocking a road Monday as part of their efforts to reach the United States and seek asylum from President-elect Joe Biden’s administration
There were about 2,000 migrants camped out on the highway after they clashed with Guatemalan security forces on Sunday.
As many as 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, authorities say, fleeing poverty and lawlessness in a region rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and Category 4 back-to-back hurricanes in November.
‘We’re scared,’ said Rosa Álvarez, a Honduran mother who was at the roadblock just before troops began clearing the area. ‘We just want to pass freely to the United States.’
Thousands of Honduran migrants, who since Thursday night have marched towards Guatemala in hopes of reaching the United States, were forcefully dispersed by Guatemalan security forces on Monday. Cops and soldiers fired tear gas at the migrants who were camping out along a highway in the village of Vado Hondo, about 34 miles from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador. According to Guatemala immigration authorities, more than 1,000 Hondurans were sent back on Sunday and an additional 100 migrants were returned to El Salvador. At least 21 Honduran migrants who joined the caravan tested positive for COVID-19 and were hospitalized. They will be sent back to Honduras once they have recuperated
Security forces in Guatemala stand in the way of migrants, mostly from Honduras, looking to continue their journey to the United States by continuing their path to the Guatemala-Mexico border
On Monday, security forces in Guatemala dispersed migrants who had arrived in caravan from Honduras over the weekend
Migrants from Honduras look on as security forces from Guatemala moved in to disperse caravan members from a road in the village of Vado Hondo on Monday
Security forces block migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras on their way to the United States, in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
The efforts to clear out the desperate migrants came after Guatemalan soldiers and cops were seen on video clashing with migrants who broke through a human barricade set up on a highway in the town of Chiquimula on Sunday afternoon.
So far, at least 1,568 migrants turned back home since Friday, the vast majority to Honduras, according to Guatemalan authorities. Nearly 100 were returned to El Salvador.
Guatemalan health officials reported that at least 21 Honduran migrants tested positive for COVID-19. The 12 men and nine women who tested positive were hospitalized and will be under observation until they recover. They will then be returned to Honduras.
Honduran who joined a new caravan of almost 8,000 migrants who want to seek asylum from the United States rest on a stretch of a road in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, before Guatemalan security forces moved in and forced them to disperse
A migrant from Honduras clashes with Guatemalan cops and soldiers in the village of Vado Hondo on Monday
Honduran migrants walk away from clashes with Guatemalan soldiers and police blocking them from advancing toward the United States on the highway in the village of Vado Hondo on Monday
Guatemalan soldiers and police chase groups of Honduran migrants at a roadblock on the highway in Vado Hondo
A woman carries her son as Honduran migrants confront Guatemalan soldiers and police manning a roadblock that prevents them from advancing toward the US, on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
Guatemalan soldiers and police chase groups of migrants amid tear gas cloud at a roadblock on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
President-elect Joe Biden leaves The Queen theater following meetings in Wilmington, Delaware on Monday. Biden, who will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday and is expected to carry out immigration reform and work with Mexico and Central America on a plan that could provide alternatives to migration
Guillermo Díaz, head of the Guatemalan Institute of Migration, said there is an increased concern over migrants from Honduras who are paying about $28 for fake documents which indicate they have tested negative for the coronavirus.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday warned migrants not to try to enter countries by force, and said he was in touch with both the outgoing and incoming U.S. administrations over the migrant caravan.
López Obrador said he was hopeful that Biden would carry out immigration reform and work with Mexico and Central America on a plan that could provide alternatives to migration.
The first migrant caravan of the year precedes Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday promising to adopt a more humane approach to migration than his predecessor President Donald Trump, who favored a hardline approach.
BIDEN’S DAY ONE EXECUTIVE ORDERS
The Biden administration plans to sign a series of executive orders on Wednesday or soon after including:
- Mask mandate on federal properties and interstate planes and trains
- End of the travel ban which initially affected Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen when it was implemented in January 2017
- Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord
- Nationwide suspension of evictions and foreclosures until at least September
Trump threatened the government’s of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras by cutting or reducing billions in aid and vowed to place tariffs on imports from Mexico unless they all clamped down on illegal migration to the United States.
Biden plans to put forward a sweeping immigration proposal on his first day in office.
His plan would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million people estimated to be living in the country illegally – a sweeping turnaround from the posture of the outgoing administration.
People who first gained protected status under the Obama administration’s DACA program would be on the shortest path to citizenship. Biden has said previously he will secure permanent protections for so-called ‘DREAMers’ who came here illegally as children.
A Biden administration official told NBC News that the thousands of would-be immigrants who formed the caravan Thursday in the Honduras city of San Pedro Sula with the intention of making their way through Mexico to claim asylum will have to wait it out.
‘The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,’ the official said.
‘[They] need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately. There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey.’
However, there was no indication that the caravan would stop Biden from unveiling sweeping immigration reform plans.
It was unclear Monday exactly when the announcement would take place, with his inauguration speech closely-held by aides.
Guatemalan military tried to break up the caravan, which authorities said numbered close to 8,000 people, within hours of its departure for the United States from Honduras last week
Groups of migrants went back into Vado Hondo looking for alternative routes. It was unclear how many were turning back
Many of the migrants say they are fleeing poverty and lawlessness in a region rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and two devastating hurricanes in November
Migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras on their way to the United States are being dispersed by security forces in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
The head of the Honduran border police, Julian Hernandez, said more than 800 security officials had tried to stop the caravan at the Guatemalan border, but migrants pushed through the barrier, some using children ‘as shields’
The incoming White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is to hold a briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
Biden has also said he will take executive actions, separate from new legislation, to turn around the Trump administration’s immigration posture – which included immigration bans on certain countries and efforts to end the DACA program that didn’t prevail in the courts.
His most sweeping proposals would require action in Congress – which features a narrow House majority and en evenly divided Senate. Barack Obama took his executive actions on DACA after repeated failures of the Congress to produce bipartisan legislation.
Biden campaigned on his ability to work with Democrats as well as Republicans, and has been contacting GOP senators throughout the transition – even as Trump and the GOP fought the legitimacy of his election.
However the immigration issue is a hot one politically after four years where President Trump while in office railed against unfettered immigration, sought to impose a Muslim ban and then a multi-country immigration ban, tried to do away with DACA, and campaigned repeatedly on his ability to turn back immigrant caravans.
Biden’s decision to immediately ask Congress to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million people in the country has surprised advocates given how the issue has long divided Democrats and Republicans, even within their own parties.
Biden will announce legislation his first day in office to provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally, according to four people briefed on his plans.
The president-elect campaigned on a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, but it was unclear how quickly he would move while wrestling with the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and other priorities.
For advocates, memories were fresh of presidential candidate Barack Obama pledging an immigration bill his first year in office, in 2009, but not tackling the issue until his second term.
Biden’s plan is the polar opposite of Donald Trump, whose successful 2016 presidential campaign rested in part on curbing or stopping illegal immigration.
Migrants camp out along a road in Guatemala before they were forced to disperse by security forces
Guatemalan soldiers block a street as Honduran migrants gather after Guatemalan security forces cleared a road where they were camping after authorities halted their trek to the United States
Migrants who arrived in caravan from Honduras on their way to the United States, are seen after security forces dispersed them in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
Guatemalan security forces detain a Honduran migrant as they clear a road where the migrants have been camping after authorities stopped their journey to the United States where they planned to seek asylum
‘This really does represent a historic shift from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that recognizes that all of the undocumented immigrants that are currently in the United States should be placed on a path to citizenship,’ said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, who was briefed on the bill.
Some past proposals have included tough enforcement measures as an effort to secure GOP buy-in.
‘This notion concerning immigration enforcement and giving Republicans everything they kept asking for … was flawed from the beginning,’ Hincapie told the Los Angeles Times.
If successful, the legislation would be the biggest move toward granting status to people in the country illegally since President Ronald Reagan bestowed amnesty on nearly 3 million people in 1986. Legislative efforts to overhaul immigration policy failed in 2007 and 2013.
During his first 100 days in office, Biden plans to deal with the pandemic by introducing a COVID-19 relief package which he expects will pass through the Democrat controlled Congress.
Biden also will introduce a mask mandate on federal properties and passengers boarding interstate airplanes and trains will be instructed to wear face covering as a preventive measure against the spread of the ravaging virus.
Biden is also expected to extend a national moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until September 30.
The President-elect intends to lift Trump’s travel ban that targeted Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Under Biden, the United States will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and spend $2 trillion towards clean energy.
Honduran migrants, top, stand between cargo trucks as they confront Guatemalan soldiers and police blocking them from advancing toward the US
Guatemalan soldiers and police chase Honduran migrants as they try advancing toward the US border, on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala
Honduran migrants walk away from clashes with Guatemalan soldiers and police blocking them from advancing toward the US
Honduran migrants walk away from where clashes with Guatemalan soldiers and police took place, at a roadblock preventing them from advancing toward the US, on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala. The roadblock was strategically placed at a chokepoint on the two-lane highway flanked by a tall mountainside and a wall leaving the migrants with few options
Migrants kneel to pray in front of the Guatemalan police officers in Vado Hondo, Guatemala on Monday
Migrants, who arrived in caravan from Honduras, make their way to the United States in Vado Hondo, Guatemala