Two weeks after the Biden Administration announced a new migration enforcement process for Venezuelans, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) reports that Venezuelans returned to Mexico are not able to petition for asylum in the U.S. and face a dire humanitarian emergency. While the new U.S. policy creates a legal pathway for some Venezuelans, thousands of others now find themselves stranded in Mexico.
“I recently returned from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where I talked with some of the Venezuelans expelled. They estimated 3,000 Venezuelans are crowded under the bridge searching for help and desperate for work,” said Maria Torres, Senior U.S. Border Program Manager at JRS/USA. “Venezuelans sent back to Mexico by the U.S. Government are facing crowded shelters, limited humanitarian assistance, and lack of access to medical care. Some have also been separated from their families.”
On October 12, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security instituted a new humanitarian parole program for Venezuelans in response to an increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking safety in the U.S. Globally, the UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 7.1 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela over the past several years. While the U.S. program aims to bring up to 24,000 Venezuelans into the United States, it is limited to those who are able to secure a sponsor in the U.S. and have the legal documents and financial means to request admission.
“Thousands of Venezuelans who have endured horrific journeys and have limited resources are no longer able to legally petition for asylum at the U.S. southern border,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy at JRS/USA. The U.S. Government’s new policy is meant to deter Venezuelans from reaching the United States, but all it does is put more Venezuelans in harm’s way. We urge the Biden Administration to do everything in its power to reassess this program and to restore full access to asylum at our southern border.