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Tags: venezuela | migrants | border | biden administration

Senior Official: US Restarting Direct Deportations to Venezuela

Thursday, 05 October 2023 06:00 PM EDT

The United States is restarting deportations of Venezuelans who cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, part of attempts to curb a record number of migrant crossings.

President Joe Biden, who took office in January 2021, has faced historic illegal border crossings, fueled by a sharp rise in recent years of migrants fleeing economic and political turmoil in Venezuela.

"This again shows how we are committed to imposing consequences on those who cross the border unlawfully," a senior official told reporters. The new policy takes immediate effect.

The announcement was made on the same day that Biden, a Democrat, said he would expand sections of the border wall, a signature policy of his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who is the front-runner to face him in the 2024 presidential election.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have trekked through the treacherous jungle region known as the Darien Gap to reach the U.S.-Mexico border in the past two years. The record number of arrivals has strained resources in cities across the United States, with Democratic officials in New York and Chicago sounding the alarm.

Frosty diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela had made it difficult for the U.S. to deport Venezuelans to their home country.

U.S. officials said they could not comment on specific discussions with Venezuela about why they agreed to accept the deportations.

The agreement will ensure "orderly, safe, and legal repatriation," the Venezuelan government said in a statement posted on X by Foreign Minister Yvan Gil. Migration is the direct result of sanctions, the Venezuelan government added, repeating its frequent accusation that U.S. measures are a violation of international law.

The U.S. officials, who spoke on the grounds they not be identified, said the move was "a direct consequence of these individuals not having availed themselves of the lawful pathways that we have created and expanded."

More than 66,000 Venezuelans have arrived in the United States using pathways such as humanitarian parole for Venezuelans who apply from abroad and have U.S. sponsors, one of the officials said.

Last month, Washington said it would grant temporary deportation relief and access to work permits to nearly half a million Venezuelans already in the country as of the end of July.

The United Nations estimates some 7.7 million Venezuelans have migrated out of their home country. Some 6.5 million of them have remained in Latin America and the Caribbean, where some countries, including Colombia, have granted them legal status en masse.

Though Venezuela's economy showed some signs of nascent recovery in recent years, thanks largely to a de facto dollarization, businesses are once again closing their doors as inflation hovers around 400%. Many Venezuelans depend on remittances from abroad to buy basics like food and medicine.

Biden's administration has only slightly eased a "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions and other measures imposed by Trump against the Socialist government of Nicolas Maduro.

Washington has insisted that Maduro must take steps toward free elections before it considers any further significant sanctions relief, though the U.S. has faced calls from some Latin American governments to take such action without further delay.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
The United States is restarting deportations of Venezuelans who cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, part of attempts to curb a record number of migrant crossings.
venezuela, migrants, border, biden administration
521
2023-00-05
Thursday, 05 October 2023 06:00 PM
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