U.S. deports Venezuelan migrants to Mexico under joint plan

MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) – U.S. and Mexican officials have agreed a plan to curb the growing number of Venezuelans crossing their common border, which would allow the U.S. to deport Venezuelans to the border. Mexico, while providing humanitarian access to thousands. up in the air.

The latest plan to curb illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border was announced on Wednesday, less than a month before the U.S. midterm elections, threatening to strip Democratic President Joe Biden of control of Congress.

Starting in October, U.S. authorities will begin managing the air passage of 24,000 Venezuelan migrants, the two governments said in a statement.

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“These actions demonstrate that there is a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and lawful entry is the only way,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

“Those who attempt to illegally cross the southern U.S. border will be sent back to Mexico and will be ineligible to participate in the process in the future.”

Biden has been politically grappling with record immigration detentions at the U.S. southwest border, a phenomenon exacerbated by rising numbers from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

His Republican opponents are seeking to gain control of Congress in November. 8 elections, criticizing what they believe is Biden’s failure to secure the border.

The two governments said the U.S.-Mexico plan would be based on a “United Ukraine” plan. Under the program, following Russia’s February. 24 Invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainians could enter the United States by obtaining sponsors and applying from abroad.

The timeline for the admission of Venezuelans is unclear, and in a call with reporters, U.S. officials did not explain how they arrived at the 24,000 figure.

Mexico, meanwhile, said it would “temporarily” allow some Venezuelan nationals to enter Mexico through the U.S. border in response to the increased movement, but did not specify how many.

More than 150,000 Venezuelans were arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border between October 2021 and August 2022, according to U.S. government data. By comparison, nearly 48,000 Venezuelans were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2021.

Mexican officials believe economic sanctions on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro’s government are fueling illegal immigration and should be eased.

The U.S. had deported hundreds of Venezuelans to Mexico before the plan was announced, a Mexican official said. U.S. statistics show that 453 Venezuelans were deported in August, the latest publicly available data.

To be eligible for the New Entry Program, a person or organization located in the United States must support the applicant’s request that they will enter the territory of the United States by air.

The Mexican government said applicants were not allowed to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border. Venezuelans who have entered Mexico or Panama illegally since October. U.S. officials said 12 people would be ineligible for the program.

At Mexico’s request, the U.S. will provide an additional 65,000 temporary visas for immigrants working in non-agricultural jobs, the Mexican government said. Of these visas, 20,000 will be allocated to Central Americans and Haitians.

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Reporting by Dave Graham and Ted Hesson; Additional reporting by Daina Beth Solomon, Kristina Cooke and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Grant McCool

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