The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is introducing a joint border enforcement plan with Mexico to limit border crossings, allowing up to 24,000 Venezuelans to directly land by air at an interior U.S. port of entry.
Mexico Will Accept Deported VenezuelansIn return, Mexico has agreed to accept deported Venezuelan nationals who enter the United States between ports of entry without authorization. Until Oct. 12, Venezuelans weren't subject to Title 42 border expulsions, as neither their home country nor a third country such as Mexico was willing to receive them.
The United States will grant tens of thousands of Venezuelans legal pathways by air.
Timing Before Midterms Draws CriticismThe operation was announced less than a month before the 2022 midterm elections that could remove Democratic control of Congress. The Biden administration said the move is to ease the ongoing crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border, which has been fueled by increased immigrant flows not only from Venezuela but also Cuba and Nicaragua.
More than 150,000 Venezuelans were picked up at the border between October 2021 and August, contrasted with nearly 48,000 apprehended in the 2021 fiscal year, according to U.S. government data.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that favors curbs on illegal immigration, denounced the new program as part of President Joe Biden’s open border policy.
Eligibility Requirements“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 an Oct. 12 statement. “Those who follow the lawful process will have the opportunity to travel safely to the United States and become eligible to work here.”
The plan is modeled on the “Uniting for Ukraine” program, rolled out in April, which allows Ukrainians fleeing the Russia–Ukraine conflict to enter the United States by securing a sponsor to provide financial and other support.
Venezuelans will also need to have a supporter within the United States, pass security vetting, and meet public health requirements, including vaccinations. Those approved via this process can then travel by air directly to an interior port of entry in the United States and later apply for work authorization.
Those seeking to apply must not go to the U.S.–Mexico border, according to the Mexican government. Venezuelans who enter Mexico or Panama illegally after Oct. 12 won't be eligible for the program, according to U.S. officials.
US to Provide Additional 65,000 H2-B VisasAt Mexico's request, the United States will provide an additional 65,000 temporary visas to migrants for nonagricultural jobs, the Mexican government stated. Of those visas, 20,000 will be allocated to Central Americans and Haitians.
The Biden administration has aimed at what it calls a “Root Causes Strategy:" collaborating with other nations to cut border encounters by addressing the violence, organized crime, corruption, and poverty that drive many to flee Central America.