Venezuelan migrants removed under new Biden move feel betrayed by Mexico, US
Venezuelan migrants who are being removed by a new policy, which was implemented by the Biden administration last week, say they feel betrayed by both the U.S. and Mexico after they were removed to Mexico and given a 15-day deadline to get a visa or leave the country.
The Biden administration recently announced a new, combined border operation with Mexico, which includes expanding removals under the Title 42 public health order to include Venezuelans — whose numbers have spiked in recent months. The order allows for the rapid removal of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration has sought to end the order but in this case is expanding its use.
The cooperation between the two countries means that Mexico will accept Venezuelan nationals for the first time under Title 42. From there, migrants are being currently placed on buses by Mexican authorities and are being bussed away from the border, deeper into the Mexican interior.
Migrants who spoke to Fox in Mexico City, where hundreds had gathered at an immigration office, said they felt they had been deceived at both sides of the border and were unsure of what to do next. Migrants have been given 15 days to either get a visa or leave the country entirely.
“They lied to us, it has all been a lie,” one migrant, Elianny Navazs, told Fox News. “They told us they were going to take us to a shelter, but they dropped us off in the middle of the street at 4 a.m. at the back of a bus station.”
“I agree with what President Biden is doing, however, I was already in the U.S. and was taken to a holding cell,” Luis Raul Conde said. “They didn’t treat us well. And to my President Biden, well, he would be when I am allowed in the U.S., I will vote for him, I want him to let us stay and be productive citizens and to pay my taxes.”
Many of the Venezuelan migrants don’t want visas in Mexico because they feel that would hurt their chances of claiming asylum in the U.S. if officials find out they already have status in Mexico.
Despite the new increased use of Title 42, illegal crossings do not appear to be slowing down, with Fox News’ border team seeing more than 500 migrants cross on Wednesday in Eagle Pass, Texas, before sunrise — including one group of approximately 300 migrants. The group consisted primarily of single adults.
In the Del Rio sector, there were almost 10,000 illegal crossings last week alone. In August, there were more than 200,000 migrant encounters border-wide. Numbers have not yet been released for September.
Meanwhile, there were more than 25,000 encounters of Venezuelan migrants in August, up from just 4,000 in April. That’s a dramatic increase from August last year, when there were just over 6,000 migrant encounters from Venezuela. It is this spike in numbers coming from the authoritarian regime that has led the Biden administration to act.
The new move to expand Title 42 to Venezuelans was accompanied by the announcement of a new parole program to provide a legal pathway for up to 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the U.S. by air.
The program requires Venezuelans to have a supporter in the U.S. to provide financial and other support, pass biometric and other security screenings, and complete public health requirements that include vaccinations. It’s similar to a program announced earlier in the year for eligible Ukrainians.
Nationals would be ineligible for the program if they have previously been deported, have crossed into the U.S. or into Mexico illegally after Tuesday, or have residence status or refugee status in a country other than Venezuela. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the program will be stopped if Mexico stops accepting Venezuelan returns.
“These actions make clear that there is a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and lawful entry is the only way,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Those who attempt to cross the southern border of the United States illegally will be returned to Mexico and will be ineligible for this process in the future. Those who follow the lawful process will have the opportunity to travel safely to the United States and become eligible to work here.”
However, despite the parole program, the expansion of Title 42 has upset immigration activists and some Democrats, who have accused the Biden administration of expanding a Trump-era program that they say denied people their right to claim asylum in the U.S.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., praised the administration’s legal pathway but hit the administration hard for expanding Title 42 — a move he called “inexcusable.”
“Expanding Title 42 to now include Venezuelans adds salt to an open wound while further eroding our asylum system that President Biden promised to restore,” he said in a statement.
Republicans, meanwhile, were also critical of the announcement, with House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member John Katko calling the move a “cynical and inadequate attempt to ‘address’ the unprecedented crisis at the southwest border of which this administration has completely lost control.”