Why the United States began to deport Venezuelans to Colombia


Without being able to return them to their country of origin and based on a controversial rule, the United States began to deport Venezuelans to Colombia.

The first, two immigrants from Venezuela who were in his custody and who had formerly resided in Colombia They were deported on January 27, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed on Tuesday through a statement sent to BBC Mundo.

The DHS specified that the deportation occurred based on the Title 42a policy established by the Donald Trump Administration (2017-2021) and maintained by that of Joe Biden, which allows migrants to be quickly expelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.

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And he added that the US government hopes that flights with Venezuelans who previously resided in the Latin American country are made “on a regular basis”, operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE, in English).

The agency “is committed to ensuring that every migrant encountered is processed in a safe, orderly and humane manner,” the official statement added.

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The note recalls that the DHS has expelled other migrants to third countries in the region where they previously resided, such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or Brazil.

“no deal”

The Colombian government, through the Migration office, confirmed the arrival of the expelled Venezuelan citizens on January 27.

“These foreigners, who arrived with their documentation in order, had left the national territory for Mexico and later crossed irregularly into the United States,” a spokesperson for Migration Colombia told the AFP news agency.

In its statement, the US Department of Homeland Security stressed that the decision to deport Venezuelans to Colombian territory was made after “holding talks with Colombia”.

In relation to this, Colombian media reported that in December both governments had held talks to explore this possibility, but the Colombian Foreign Minister —and Vice President—, Marta Lucía Ramírezassured this Tuesday that there was no agreement on the issue with the US.

“We have not signed no agreement with the United States to receive 6,000 deported Venezuelans as some media point out,” he told the Blu Radio network.

Nearly 25,000 Venezuelans have arrived at the US southern border in recent months (GETTY IMAGES).

“The United States has raised the possibility that some Venezuelans, who have arrived irregularly with Colombians, are going to deport them. If they are Colombians, deport them, if they are Venezuelans, who are part of the Temporary Protection Statute, and no longer want to live in Colombia, then we will analyze it“, he added.

BBC Mundo contacted the Colombian Foreign Ministry to find out more details about the issue, but until the time of publishing this note, it has not received a response.

Colombia has been the great recipient of Venezuelan migration due to the economic crisis that has hit the neighboring country in the last decade. It is home to more than 1.7 million Venezuelans.

But the growing flow of Venezuelans leaving their country also has other destinations.

In December, US authorities found Venezuelans crossing the Mexican border illegally nearly 25,000 times, the second nationality after Mexicans. The figure was more than double that of just three months earlier and far higher than the nearly 200 a year earlier.

And since he broke diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro, US immigration officials have no way of processing deportations of Venezuelans to their country of origin.

The Embassy of Venezuela in the United States, which is in the power of the opposition group of Juan Guaidó, recognized by Washington as “interim president”, urged the US government on Tuesday. in a statement to that allows “Venezuelan migrants to present their asylum application”.

He also warned that the imposition of greater restrictions on Venezuelans “will only deepen the crisis and increase illegal businesses such as human trafficking and smuggling.”

Title 42

As the DHS points out in its statement, the deportations of Venezuelans to Colombia are being carried out following the indications of the so-called Title 42.

DHS says decision is made to follow Title 42 public health order

This is an exception to the country’s health law that allows restricting the entry of foreigners by land for health reasons (even for those who have a visa).

It was issued in the 1940s and stated that if any government certified doctor determined that a person presented a risk of introducing a contagious disease into the country, this person should be expelled immediately.

US President Joe Biden has maintained the immigration policy of his predecessor, Donald Trump.  (GETTY IMAGES).

US President Joe Biden has maintained the immigration policy of his predecessor, Donald Trump. (GETTY IMAGES).

That decision later became the exclusive responsibility of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was rarely put into practice during the different administrations.

But in March 2020, then-President Donald Trump reactivated it in the context of the pandemic, sparking controversy because the rule restricted the right of people to seek asylum in the country.

And in September of last year, the American radio NPR reported that the Joe Biden government had requested before a court to keep Title 42 active for immigration issues in order to “slow down the expansion of covid-19 in the country.”

Olga Byrne, director of migration affairs at the International Rescue Committee, criticizes the measure.

“Despite the commitments announced by the US administration in the first 100 days, damaging policies like Title 42 remain in place more than a year after taking office,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Title 42 removals deprive asylum seekers of due process and instead send them back to dangerous conditions, similar to, if not worse than, those from which they escaped. In certain cases, they send them to third countries, such as Colombia, which for years have stepped forward to receive Venezuelan asylum seekers.”

Increase in the southern border

Venezuelans have become the second nationality, behind Mexicans, who seek to cross the southern border of the US, according to data from the US authorities themselves.

Many Venezuelan migrants leave from Colombia.  (GETTY IMAGES).

Many Venezuelan migrants leave from Colombia. (GETTY IMAGES).

According to the reports delivered by the Border Patrol, the crossings where more immigrants have been identified have been those of Yuma, in the state of Arizona, and Del Río, in the state of Texas.

Venezuelans often travel to Mexicali, in Mexico, and from there they try to cross through the Yuma pass.

Last September, the UN confirmed that nearly six million Venezuelans had left the country in recent years. Many of them pointed out that they had emigrated because of the economic crisis that the South American country is going through.

Colombia, the main recipient of this migration, activated an ambitious plan for the naturalization of Venezuelan migrants, who are estimated to represent a population of about one and a half million people.


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Source: Elcomercio


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