In an attempt to mitigate the migratory crisis that has USA On its southern border, the government of President Joe Biden announced new measures to curb the irregular migration of Venezuelans.
A total of 33,000 Venezuelans arrived at the border in September alone. The fiscal year of 2022 saw an increase in the arrival of Venezuelans of 293% compared to the previous fiscal year.
LOOK: The United States will return to Mexico Venezuelan migrants who cross the border illegally
For this reason, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this Wednesday measures aimed at reducing the number of Venezuelan migrants arriving through the southern border.
After reaching an agreement with the Mexican government led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Washington announced that Venezuelans who cross the border on foot or by swimming will be immediately returned to Mexico, a measure that came into force on Wednesday.
But, at the same time, he informed that he will open the doors to 24,000 Venezuelans who want to legally emigrate to the USwith a program similar to the one that already exists for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
The increase in Venezuelan migration to the United States has become a major challenge for the US and Mexican authorities.
In January of this year, Mexican authorities introduced visas for some Venezuelans as a requirement to enter the country to try reduce the flow of migrants.
But now many have embarked on a land route through Panama’s dangerous and sometimes deadly Darien Gap.
More than 6 million Venezuelans have fled their country since the economy collapsed starting in 2014. Most have emigrated to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the flow to the US is growing.
Now, how does the new agreement affect Venezuelans?
1- Forced to remain in Mexico
As of this Wednesday, October 12, any Venezuelan who crosses the US border illegally will be expelled to Mexico.
The expulsions will take place under a controversial President Donald Trump-era policy known as Title 42a public health decree created at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic that allows the US to quickly expel undocumented immigrants for health reasons, thus taking away their opportunity to apply for asylum.
According to US authorities, it was introduced to help prevent the spread of covid-19 in detention centers.
The non-existent relations with the Venezuelan government of Nicholas Maduro they made it almost impossible to apply Title 42 to migrants from Venezuela, who enjoyed humanitarian parole, which allowed them to stay to process an asylum application in the North American country and were not deported.
But they will no longer be able to apply for asylum after crossing the border illegally, according to the new Biden administration plan.
The US and Mexican governments say the policy is designed to deter people from making the dangerous journey from South America to Mexico.
2- A new legal way to emigrate
Perhaps the most striking measure for many Venezuelans is the decision by the United States to allow 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the country “legally and safely.”
But not everyone can apply.
The program is similar to the current initiative United for Ukraine (U4U), created to orderly admit Ukrainians fleeing their country due to the Russian invasion.
Venezuelan applicants will need to prove they have a sponsor in the US: a person or organization capable of providing “financial and other support.”
Other requirements include being fully vaccinated and going through “rigorous” biometric and biographical checks.
The US authorities will examine case by case and those chosen will be able to apply for a work permit and stay in the country for two years.
the applicants they don’t have to be in Venezuela to apply and may come from other countries, according to US officials.
But those who have been deported from the US in the last five years will be excluded from the program.
Those who have entered Panama or Mexico irregularly or have tried to cross the US border illegally since Wednesday’s announcement.
Doubts have been raised about whether this program will succeed and achieve its goal of discouraging Venezuelan migrants from crossing the border illegally.
The 24,000 is less than the number of Venezuelans who illegally crossed the border in August (25,000) and September (33,000) alone.
Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security reported that this program will depend on Mexico “maintaining its independent but parallel effort” to receive Venezuelans who arrive illegally in the United States.
3- The 24,000 must arrive by air
Venezuelans who are already in the US will not be able to benefit from the program and those whose applications are successful will have to manage to reach US soil, since they will only be able to enter by air to relieve border pressure.
Due to US concerns about the security of Venezuela’s aviation industry, the US government does not allow flights from the Caribbean country.
This restriction includes charter and commercial flights.
For this reason, those who intend to emigrate from Venezuela must look for a third way, which can be complicated for many due to the fact that several neighboring countries they ask for visas Venezuelans who wish to enter their territory.
In their statement, the Mexican authorities assured that they will allow temporarily the return of some Venezuelan citizens.
It is not known if Mexico plans to place limits on the number of Venezuelans it plans to receive.
The United States and Mexico say they will continue to strengthen their coordinated operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice.
The new joint plan will also include new migration checkpoints, more resources and additional staff.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.