US with sponsors will allow 24,000 Venezuelan migrants to enter legally, while expelling others

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday that the Biden administration will allow some asylum seekers from troubled Venezuela to enter the country legally if they have access to a US-based financial aid to prevent illegal crossings along the southern border. Sponsor. ,

In contrast, Venezuelan immigrants who cross the US-Mexico border illegally could face swift expulsion to northern Mexico under a recently forged agreement with the Mexican government, senior US government officials told reporters. . Previously, Mexican authorities generally did not accept the expulsion of Venezuela.

Under the sponsorship program, one model after another Biden Administration Policy Which has allowed thousands of displaced Ukrainians to enter the US since April, up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants will be allowed to fly to US airports and stay in the country for two years.

Like Ukrainians welcomed into the US after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, eligible Venezuelan immigrants who pass a background check will be granted parole, a humanitarian immigration authority that allows beneficiaries to apply for work permits. Parole, however, does not provide a way to permanent legal status.

In addition to the numerical limit, the sponsorship program for Venezuela includes a number of eligibility restrictions, including a ban on migrants crossing the US-Mexico border illegally and those deported from the US in the past five years following Wednesday’s announcement.

Venezuelans who entered Mexico or Panama illegally after Wednesday will also be disqualified from the sponsorship process, which US officials said is up to the Mexican government on its commitment to accept the return of those migrants from Venezuela. those who enter the United States illegally.

The eligibility rules, a senior US official said, are designed to discourage Venezuelans from embarking on the dangerous, multi-country trek into Central America and Mexico that thousands of Venezuelan migrants have taken in the past to reach the US. Already started in the year.

According to Panamanian government figures, the trek often involves hiking through Panama’s infamous Darren Gap, a roadless wilderness that has over 150,000 migrants, 107,000 of them from Venezuela.

A senior US official said, “You hear the stories from Darren Gap. These trips across the continent are incredibly dangerous. They’re run by human trafficking organizations. We’re seeing the loss of lives.” “Therefore, we see this as a humanitarian issue. We want to reduce irregular migration and expand the legal avenues.”

Wednesday’s announcement could mark a seismic shift in US border policy for Venezuelan migrants who have traveled to the US-Mexico border in record numbers over the past year amid the economic collapse and political turmoil of their home country .

Government data shows that since October 2021, US border officials have processed more than 150,000 Venezuelan migrants. So far, the vast majority of Venezuelan migrants have been released and allowed to pursue asylum claims because the US has generally not been able to expel them to Mexico or Venezuela, where the repressive government in Caracas is the US. Rejects deportation.

But senior US officials said migrants who bypass the new sponsorship process and want to enter the country illegally will face expulsion from Mexico under Title 42, a Trump-era public health order that allows migrants to enter the country. Prevents seeking asylum. The pandemic-era policy remains in place because of a federal court order.

“These actions make clear that there is a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and that lawful entry is the only way,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyercas said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Mexican Foreign Ministry confirmed the deal with the Biden administration, saying it would continue “Mexico’s unilateral policy of receiving migrants under Title 42 for humanitarian reasons.”

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said, “Given the current increase in migration and the need for orderly, safe, regular and humane access to migrants in the region, Mexico is temporarily allowing certain Venezuelan citizens to enter our national territory across the northern border.” will allow.”

Those sponsoring Venezuelan asylum seekers must submit an online application with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Potential sponsors must go through background checks and prove they are lawfully in the US and have the financial means to sponsor Venezuelan immigrants.

Asked how Venezuelans without family or friends in the US would find sponsors, a senior US official said the Biden administration would work with the private sector to identify sponsors, aiming to replicate the success of the sponsorship policy. Is. Ukrainians, united for Ukraine.

As part of Unite for Ukraine, 67,000 Ukrainians with US sponsors have been granted humanitarian parole to enter the country, DHS figures show. In less than six months, USCIS has received sponsorship requests from more than 146,000 US-based individuals.

US officials said they would evaluate Venezuela’s sponsorship program to determine whether to continue it. One version of the policy was internalized to cover immigrants from other countries, including Cuba and Nicaragua, which have seen record numbers of their citizens travel to the US, people familiar with the matter said.

One US official said, “We are committed to implementing this new process and seeing if it works. And if it does indeed have an impact, we may consider in the future whether we It can be implemented elsewhere.”

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