DHS Announces New Program for Qualifying Venezuelan Migrants

Faced with an increasing number of Venezuelan migrants that are fleeing the political instability and poverty in their country, the Biden Administration on Wednesday announced a new parole program for qualifying Venezuelans in an attempt to alleviate strain at the southern border.

The plan that was officially agreed upon by the United States and Mexico would allow qualifying Venezuelans to travel to the US by air to an interior point of entry, where they will be eligible to apply for work authorization in the US.

The program will allow up to 24,000 qualifying Venezuelans to come into the US through these authorized ports of entry. They must have a preexisting tie in the US – someone who can provide financial and other support – and must also pass national security and public-safety vetting, and complete vaccinations and public health requirements.

In a measure aimed at easing the growing pressure at the US-Mexico border in recent months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it would immediately return to Mexico Venezuelan migrants who crossed the border unlawfully between ports of entry under Title 42, the Trump-era pandemic emergency rule.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stressed in his statement that since there is now a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, Venezuelans that try to enter the country illegally will be ineligible for this process in the future.

The number of migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, or Nicaragua, encountered at the border in August was 55,333 – a 175 percent increase from the year before. Explaining Wednesday’s announcement, DHS said that, compared with last year, nearly four times the number of Venezuelans tried crossing the southern border in 2022.

DHS announcement comes in light of the growing pressure the Biden administration has faced as Republicans push immigration as a key issue leading up to Election Day and particularly as GOP Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida have bussed thousands of migrants to the so-called sanctuary cities with Democratic mayors.

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