The US government will resume deportation flights to Venezuela, after years of freezing the practice, as a measure to discourage migration towards its southern border, US authorities announced on Thursday (5).
Venezuela has agreed to take in citizens deported from the United States, something that has not been possible until now, as Washington and Caracas severed diplomatic relations in 2019 and the South American country is under strong economic sanctions.
The United States has not explained how to persuade Venezuela to agree to deportation flights again.
The American authorities contented themselves with announcing that they have been asking the regime of Nicolas Maduro “for a long time” to “receive its citizens.”
For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the decision was taken after a “high-level discussion” on Wednesday (4), in Mexico City, between the governments of the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Panama on how to “address illegal immigration.” In the region.
The announcement comes amid an increase in arrests of people trying to cross the US-Mexico border illegally, with more than 180,000 migrants arrested in August alone.
Venezuelans are one group that has contributed to this increase: in June, 11,506 Venezuelans were arrested, and in August that number rose to 22,172.
Until then, US authorities were unable to deport Venezuelans who did not meet the requirements to legally remain in the United States to Venezuela.
However, under an agreement with Mexico, the United States had the possibility of returning a certain number of Venezuelans per month across the border. According to the authorities, this practice will continue to accompany deportation flights.
They added that the United States has already identified “several individuals” in its custody who will be returned to Venezuela on the first deportation flight “in the coming days.”
One source explained that this decision shows the United States’ commitment to “imposing sanctions on illegal border crossers.”
“It is a direct result of individuals who have not taken advantage of the legal immigration pathways that we have expanded,” the official said.
Since October last year, Joe Biden’s government has implemented a humanitarian licensing program, known as “conditional release,” which allows Venezuelans with a sponsor in the United States to travel to the country.
Meanwhile, last week, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was extended to Venezuelans who arrived in the United States before July 31, allowing them to obtain legal status.
However, the law states that you can only seek asylum when you are already on US soil, which is why people seeking this protection try to present themselves at the southern border of the USA.
Since May of this year, the US government has imposed a series of measures restricting access to asylum at the border, requiring people to make an appointment on an app called CBP One, to seek protection at different ports of entry.
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