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U.S. and Mexico reach agreement to address large influx of Venezuelan migrants

The new measures for Venezuelan refugees will be modeled after the Biden administration’s humanitarian parole program for Ukrainian refugees

October 12, 2022 8:44pm

Updated: October 13, 2022 9:09am

The United States and Mexico reached an agreement on Wednesday to address the large influx of Venezuelan migrants that are seeking refuge in the country. 

The agreement will allow U.S. authorities to send some Venezuelan migrants back to Mexico as the government expands opportunities for others to apply for legal entry through U.S. consulates abroad, officials announced.  

The new measures for Venezuelan refugees will be modeled after the Biden administration’s humanitarian parole program that allowed thousands of Ukrainians to enter the U.S. after the war in Ukraine broke out. 

The program will allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the country and secure work authorization for up to two years. 

Venezuelan applicants will have to go to U.S. consulates abroad to apply for the program, after which they will be allowed to fly to the country and seek approval for work authorization. To qualify, applicants must have a person or organization willing to sponsor them financially. 

Along with the humanitarian parole program, the U.S. announced that it would now expel Venezuelans who cross the border under Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allows border officials to quickly deny entry to migrants to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Until this agreement, Venezuelans were not subjected to Title 42 because they could not be returned to their home country due to a lack of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela and no third country was willing to accept them. 

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

Instead, Mexico agreed to allow Venezuelans that are currently in Mexico to apply for entry to the U.S. under the humanitarian parole program. However, Mexican officials warned that new arrivals to the country could be detained and possibly deported. 

The new measures come as part of an effort to discourage Venezuelans to head directly to the border, where border officials are overwhelmed by the large influx of migrants.

Over 7 million Venezuelans have fled the political, economic, and social crisis caused by the regime of Nicolas Maduro, making it the second country in the world with the largest refugee crisis, according to the United Nations.