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Biden Administration Expands Its Immigration Policy For Venezuelans By Cutting A Deal With Mexico

October 20, 2022
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With only weeks to go before the 2022 mid-term elections with southern border states’ citizens reeling from the out-of-control immigration crossings, and Latinos moving to the republican column for this election, the Biden Administration announced via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week that the U.S. and Mexico have negotiated a deal to address the surge of Venezuelans traversing Mexico heading to the U.S. southern border. 

The Department of Homeland Security announced “joint actions with Mexico to reduce the number of people arriving at our Southwest border and create a more orderly and safe process for people fleeing the humanitarian and economic crisis in Venezuela,” reads the DHS announcement

Effective immediately this week, “Venezuelans who enter the United States between ports of entry, without authorization, will be returned to Mexico. At the same time, the United States and Mexico are reinforcing their coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice. That campaign will include new migration checkpoints, additional resources and personnel, joint targeting of human smuggling organizations, and expanded information sharing related to transit nodes, hotels, stash houses, and staging locations. The United States is also planning to offer additional security assistance to support regional partners to address the migration challenges in the Darién Gap,” further reads the statement.

The Darin Gap is that perilous area between Panama and Columbia that many immigrants traverse on their trek to the U.S. southern border. Over 2 million Venezuelans have left their homeland and now, living inside Columbia. There has been a increase in Venezuelans crossing the U.S. southern border illegally over the course of the last years, which the Biden Administration has admitted. 

The overall plan is to allow 24,000 Venezuelans into the United States but according to this joint plan. 

“These actions make clear that there is a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and lawful entry is the only way,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.  “Those who attempt to cross the southern border of the United States illegally will be returned to Mexico and will be ineligible for this process in the future. Those who follow the lawful process will have the opportunity to travel safely to the United States and become eligible to work here.” 

According to Homeland Security, this new plan is modeled after “Uniting for Ukraine” (U4U) program allowing Ukrainians into the U.S, who have been fleeing the Russia/Ukraine war. 

“To be eligible, Venezuelans must:

  • have a supporter in the United States who will provide financial and other support;
  • pass rigorous biometric and biographic national security and public safety screening and vetting; and
  • complete vaccinations and other public health requirements.

Venezuelans are ineligible if they:

  • have been ordered removed from the United States in the previous five years;
  • have crossed without authorization between ports of entry after the date of announcement;
  • have irregularly entered Mexico or Panama after the date of announcement, or are a permanent resident or dual national of any country other than Venezuela, or currently hold refugee status in any country; or
  • have not completed vaccinations and other public health requirements.

Venezuelans should not travel to Mexico to pursue entry into the United States,” lists the criteria.  

Venezuelans approved via this process will be authorized on a case-by-case basis to travel to the United States by air directly to an interior port of entry, thus relieving pressure at the border.  Once in the United States, they will be eligible to apply for work authorization,” read the announcement. 

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Although the Biden administration has downplayed the situation at the U.S. southern border, the DHS statement did admit the rise in Venezuelans crossing the border since Biden became president, and when Biden was vice-president. 

“Venezuelans have been migrating throughout the hemisphere since approximately 2014, yet the level of irregular migration of Venezuelans has increased dramatically throughout the hemisphere in the past several years. There are currently 2.4 million Venezuelans residing in Colombia. More than 25% of Venezuela’s population has left the country.  The United States is seeing a rising rate of Venezuelans encountered at our border over the past two years, which has surged in the last few months. Average monthly unique encounters of Venezuelan nationals at the land border totaled 15,494 in FY 2022, rising further to over 25,000 in August and 33,000 in September, compared to a monthly average of 127 unique encounters from FY 2014–2019.   Of note, unique encounters of Venezuelan nationals rose 293 percent between FY 2021 and FY 2022, while unique encounters of all other nationalities combined increased 45 percent. Panama is currently seeing more than 3,000 people, mostly Venezuelan nationals, crossing into its territory from Colombia via the Darién jungle each day,” read their admission in the DHS statement.

Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”

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