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The Biden administration plans to return most Venezuelan migrants crossing the southern border to Mexico, which was previously not allowed, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday.
The border policy also creates a pathway to bring up to 24,000 “qualified” Venezuelans into the country. The plan includes a joint effort by the United States and Mexico to crack down on human smuggling operations by establishing new migration checkpoints and additional resources to target smuggling operations.
The new policy comes as the number of migrants entering the United States has increased in recent years. It also comes ahead of a midterm election in which immigration is often a major issue among likely voters in Texas.
“These actions make it clear that there is a legal and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and legal entry is the only way,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the statement. ‘announcement.
He added that Venezuelans who attempt to cross the border without permission will not only be returned to Mexico, but also ineligible to apply for entry into the country in the future.
Due to social unrest and political unrest, Venezuelans have fled their home country in record numbers. In recent years, 7 million Venezuelans have fled, making it the largest displacement in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world after the Syrian exodus.
Many Venezuelans making the 3,000-mile journey from South America to the US-Mexico border face extreme environmental hazards and violence along the way.
“Nearly four times as many Venezuelans as last year attempted to cross our southern border, placing their lives in the hands of ruthless smuggling organizations,” DHS said. “The actions the United States and Mexico are announcing today aim to address the most serious irregular migration and help ease the pressure on the cities and states that host these people.
Federal immigration officials recorded 2.1 million encounters at the southwest border — a record number — in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30. This is an increase of 24% compared to the whole of the previous financial year. According to federal government statistics, immigration officials encountered nearly 154,000 Venezuelans along the U.S.-Mexico border in the first 11 months of this fiscal year, a 216 percent increase over the entire the previous year. The majority of encounters with Venezuelans took place in the El Paso and Del Rio areas.
To be “qualified”, Venezuelans wishing to enter the United States will need someone willing to provide financial support and will have to pass background checks.
In March 2020, the Trump administration invoked an emergency health order known as Title 42, which immigration officials used to immediately return to Mexico many people trying to cross the border, including asylum seekers, without having to file a complaint or wait for the official deportation procedure.
But before Biden’s announcement on Wednesday, Venezuelans could not be sent across the border under Title 42 because they are on the list of nationalities Mexico would not accept. But Wednesday’s announcement called the new policies a joint venture between the United States and Mexico. Venezuelan migrants cannot be deported to their country because the United States severed diplomatic relations with Venezuela in 2019. Instead, they were released into local shelters.
Last week, immigration officials released 6,800 migrants, many of them Venezuelans, in El Paso, a weekly increase of 300% from nearly two months ago, according to the online dashboard ” Migrant Crisis” from El Paso.
Unable to cope with the influx of migrants, El Paso spent more than $2 million on charter buses to New York and Chicago, ferrying thousands of migrants out of town. El Paso has transported more than 12,000 migrants, mostly to New York, since late August, according to the dashboard.
Prior to the busing of migrants through El Paso, Governor Greg Abbott used taxpayer dollars to ferry thousands of migrants to Washington, DC, New York and Chicago. His public bus announcements have been condemned by Democratic leaders across the country, who have accused the Texas governor of using human beings as political pawns.
Abbott’s bus strategy appeared to inspire imitators from other GOP governors. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis chartered two private planes from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island known as a tourist destination. Many migrants were misled before boarding the flights, leading to multiple lawsuits against the governor of Florida and an investigation by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Abbott’s bus strategy remains popular with a narrow majority of Texas voters. According to an August poll from the University of Texas at Austin, 52% of voters backed the governor’s plan. Immigration and border security ranks as the top voter concern ahead of the 2022 election, with 26% of Texas voters placing it as their top issue ahead of the state’s economy.
Venezuelans have fled their home country amid social unrest and political unrest. The South American country was once one of the richest in Latin America. The United States then imposed economic sanctions on the Venezuelan government in a bid to force President Nicolás Maduro out of power because US federal officials accused him of electoral fraud. These sanctions caused the collapse of the oil industry, which was the country’s economic engine.
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