US and Mexico reach agreement on plans for Venezuelan migrants

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced measures aimed at reducing the number of Venezuelan migrants arriving at the southern border.

Biden officials announced the plans after reaching a deal with Mexico that would allow U.S. officials to send some Venezuelan migrants across the border while expanding opportunities for legal entry for others through an application process abroad.

The arrangement is modeled after the Biden administration The program allowed nearly 70,000 Ukrainians Enter the United States within the last six months with a legal status known as humanitarian parole. Applicants must have a person or organization willing to sponsor them and then wait for authorization to travel to the United States, rather than arriving at the southern border.

Mexico agrees to accept the return of Venezuelan migrants under Title 42, an epidemic measure designed to protect public health, in an effort to prevent Venezuelans from directly crossing the border.

“Effective immediately, Venezuelan nationals who enter the United States between ports of entry without authorization will be deported to Mexico,” DHS said in a statement. “At the same time, the United States and Mexico are strengthening coordinated enforcement efforts to target human trafficking organizations and bring them to justice.”

U.S. officials have said immigrants who enter Panama or Mexico illegally are ineligible for the U.S. humanitarian program. Applicants must clear health screenings and security checks, but those approved through the online process will receive U.S. work authorization faster.

DHS officials said the measures would help ease the pressure on cities and states receiving immigrants. Administration officials are scrambling to avert a humanitarian and logistical emergency as large numbers of Venezuelan migrants illegally cross the southern border into the United States in recent months.

The Republican governors of Arizona and Texas have sent thousands of border crossers — mostly Venezuelans — to North American cities in recent months.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said his city’s shelter system overflowed By arrival, state of emergency declared crisis and financial crisis.

U.S. officials said 24,000 Venezuelans would be allowed to reach the United States under the terms of the deal. But that number has been dwarfed by the nearly 160,000 detained in US custody on the southern border in the past year, raising doubts about the program’s ability to divert Venezuelans to legitimate channels.

Officials said they would allow Venezuelans already in Mexico to apply to enter the United States under the humanitarian program. But new arrivals to the country are likely to be detained by Mexican immigration officials and deported, officials said.

Deportations of Venezuelans from the United States and Mexico are ongoing Difficult as the Venezuelan government often refuses to allow deportation flights into the country. Mexico has reluctantly acceded to US demands on Title 42 since the policy was implemented in March 2020. But Venezuela is not accepted due to extradition challenges.

Mexican officials say the plan will only work if the U.S. agrees to accept a significant number of Venezuelans under the visa program, giving them what they believe is a viable alternative route for migrants to travel through Central America.

“We will be looking at the plan to make sure the numbers are adequate,” said a Mexican official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deal.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday an increase in the allocation of work visas, 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, the department said.

Administration officials familiar with the plan said Mexico would have to agree to take back more migrants deported by U.S. officials using Title 42.

Mexico has limited the number of migrants it receives, citing its accommodation capacity restrictions, and has allowed the United States to deport relatively few Venezuelans.

About 1,000 Venezuelans have been crossing the U.S. southern border each day in recent weeks, according to the latest data from Customs and Border Protection.

An official familiar with the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it, expressed doubt that the plan would be successful if only a few hundred migrants a day agreed to turn back at the Mexican border.

Because the United States does not recognize Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro as the country’s legitimate president, U.S. officials do not have the ability to send Venezuelans back to their home country on deportation flights.

Venezuelans who have not been “deported” to Mexico under Title 42 will continue to be allowed to enter the United States. If the new legal plan creates a backlash, some applicants won’t wait and try to enter illegally.

Nearly 7 million Venezuelans have fled their homeland since 2013, according to a recent UN report. Assessments. Many settled in Colombia, Peru and other South American countries, but others chose to travel north to the United States in search of better security and economic opportunities.

Venezuelan immigrants pose new border challenge for Biden

The Biden administration attempted to end the Trump-era Title 42 public health policy blocked In federal court in May. Critics said the deal with Mexico appeared to signal the administration’s reliance on Title 42.

“We have not been given the definition of a humanitarian parole program for Venezuelans,” said Thomas Cartwright, an immigrant attorney with Witness at the Border, “but we are deeply disturbed by the apparent adoption, codification and expansion of Title 42, an inappropriate health order, as a cornerstone of border policy, for asylum. Abolishes the legal right.”

The chief reported from Mexico City.

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