US and Mexico reach agreement on plans for Venezuelan immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced measures aimed at reducing the number of Venezuelan immigrants arriving at the southern border, a record influx that has fueled partisan divisions over US immigration policies.

Biden officials announced the plans after reaching an agreement with Mexico that would allow US authorities to return some Venezuelan immigrants across the border, while expanding opportunities for others to seek legal entry through the overseas application process.

The ranking is modeled after the Biden administration The program that allowed nearly 70,000 Ukrainians To enter the United States within the past six months on a legal status known as humanitarian parole. Applicants must have a person or organization willing to sponsor them financially, then wait for permission to travel to the United States, rather than to the southern border.

Mexico, in an effort to dissuade Venezuelans from heading directly to the border, will agree to accept the return of Venezuelan migrants under Title 42, an epidemic measure ostensibly designed to protect public health.

“Effective immediately, Venezuelans who enter the United States between ports of entry, without a permit, will be returned to Mexico,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. “At the same time, the United States and Mexico are strengthening coordinated enforcement operations to target and bring to justice human smuggling organizations.”

US officials have said that immigrants who enter Panama or Mexico illegally will not be eligible for the US humanitarian program. Applicants must clear health checks and security audits, but those who are approved through the online process will have a fast track to obtaining a license to work in the United States.

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Department of Homeland Security officials said the measures would “help relieve pressure on cities and countries” that receive immigrants. With a record number of Venezuelan immigrants illegally arriving in the United States via the southern border in recent months, administration officials are scrambling to avoid a humanitarian and logistical emergency.

Arizona and Texas Republican governors have sent thousands of border-crossers – mostly Venezuelans – to northern US cities in recent months.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said his city’s shelter system was so confuse Through the flow, the declaration of a crisis and an emergency straining financial resources.

US officials said they would allow 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the United States under the terms of the agreement. But that number dwindles to the nearly 160,000 held in US custody along the southern border over the past year, raising doubts about the program’s ability to redirect Venezuelans to official channels.

The authorities said they would allow Venezuelans already in Mexico to apply to enter the United States under the humanitarian programme. But officials said new arrivals to the country would be detained by Mexican immigration authorities and possibly deported.

Venezuelans have been deported from the United States and Mexico Difficult because the Venezuelan government has often refused to allow deportation flights into the country. Mexico has reluctantly accepted US demands for Title 42 since the policy was implemented in March 2020. But previously it had not accepted Venezuelans largely due to deportation challenges.

Mexican officials say the program will only work if the United States agrees to accept so many Venezuelans under the visa program that the migrants believe they have a viable alternative to transit through Central America.

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“We will monitor the program to make sure the numbers are sufficient,” said a Mexican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the agreement.

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced an increase in its work visa allocation, adding 65,000 H2-B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers. Of those, 20,000 visas will be reserved for people from Central America and Haiti, according to the ministry.

Administration officials familiar with the plan said it was conditional on Mexico agreeing to return more immigrants expelled by US authorities using Address 42.

Mexico has limited the number of immigrants it takes in, citing its shelter capacity limitations, and has allowed the United States to return relatively few Venezuelans.

Nearly 1,000 Venezuelans have crossed the southern border of the United States daily in recent weeks, according to the latest available data from Customs and Border Protection.

An official familiar with the program, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it, expressed doubts that the plan would work if Mexico agreed to return only a few hundred migrants a day at the border.

The US authorities have almost no ability to repatriate Venezuelans on deportation flights because the US does not recognize Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as the country’s legitimate president.

Venezuelans who were not “expelled” to Mexico under Title 42 will continue to be allowed to enter the United States. If the new legal program leads to a backlog, some applicants may not want to wait and try to enter illegally.

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Nearly 7 million Venezuelans have left their homeland since 2013, according to the latest United Nations report Estimates. Many settled in Colombia, Peru, and other countries in South America, but others chose to make the journey north to the United States in search of better security and economic opportunities.

Venezuelan immigrants present a new border challenge for Biden

The Biden administration tried to end public health policy in the Trump 42 era, but it was prevented In federal court in May. Critics have said the agreement with Mexico appears to be an indication of the administration’s reliance on Title 42.

“The features of the humanitarian parole program for Venezuelans have not been introduced,” said Thomas Cartwright, an immigrant advocate for the Witness at the Border group, but we are deeply troubled by the apparent acceptance, codification, and expansion of this program. The use of Title 42, an irrelevant health order, as a cornerstone of border policy, which negates the statutory right to asylum.”

Saif reported from Mexico City.

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