November 28, 2022

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Biden Administration Offers Legal Path to Thousands of Venezuelan Immigrants to the United States

Biden Administration Offers Legal Path to Thousands of Venezuelan Immigrants to the United States

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it would accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans via a humanitarian parole scheme, although the scope of the program was much narrower than a similar one for Ukrainians.

The parole plan would give Venezuelans a narrow legal route into the United States and the administration hopes they will apply for it remotely and travel to the United States instead of making the dangerous journey to the southwestern border.

The Department of Homeland Security also said it would expand its use of the public health rule to begin expelling Venezuelan-Mexicans illegally crossing the US border.

Relying on the Trump-era pandemic rule has crystallized the Biden administration’s balanced work on refugee aid and tightened border controls in the face of Republican attacks on President Biden’s immigration policy and record numbers of illegal border crossings. And there is no guarantee that only 27 days before the midterms, it will have the desired effect.

So far, the majority of Venezuelans who have crossed the border into the United States have not been expelled under the public health authority, known as Title 42. Instead, they have been screened and released back to the country temporarily to face deportation proceedings in immigration court, where they have the option to apply for asylum.

Venezuelans applying for a humanitarian parole program must have someone in the United States who can demonstrate their ability to provide financial support to the immigrant for up to two years. During the application process, the government will assess the sponsor’s financial resources and screen applicants, who will also have to obtain certain vaccines and comply with other public health requirements.

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In addition, any Venezuelan who enters Mexico or Panama illegally or has permanent resident status, dual citizenship, or refugee status with another country is not eligible for the parole program. Venezuelans who have already been released in the United States to face deportation procedures and apply for asylum are not eligible to apply for the program either.

Venezuelans who have been granted parole on humanitarian grounds will be allowed to work legally in the United States and enjoy more stability than those facing deportation proceedings.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N.

Announcing a new policy less than a month before the midterms is a calculated and political decision by the White House, said John Thomas, a Republican strategist.


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“This is more than an attempt to ease people’s anger about what is happening on the southern border,” said Mr. Thomas. It also gives management a talking point that they’re ‘doing something.’ ‘

But it is not clear whether humanitarian parole and the expansion of Section 42 will significantly reduce the number of border crossings, as Venezuelans make up only a small portion of the migrants crossing illegally.

Immigrant rights advocates have urged the White House to create a humanitarian program for the conditional release of immigrants from particularly unstable countries, including Venezuela.

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But they do not support a plan linking humanitarian parole to the expulsion of thousands of other Venezuelan migrants to Mexico’s dangerous northern border region.

“It’s great that access to humanitarian parole is being expanded, but it can’t be at the cost of doing additional harm to asylum seekers,” said Raha Walla, deputy director of legislative advocacy for the National Center for Immigration Law. “Title 42 is a harsh Trump-era, anti-immigrant policy that deserves to be relegated to the dustbin of history, not expanded.”

Fleeing poverty and political instability, more than 6.8 million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2015, according to the United Nations. Most of them went to other countries in South America.

But in the past year, more and more have been making their way to the United States. In August, Venezuelans made up about 12 percent of those who crossed the southwestern border illegally. While the majority of immigrants who do so are expelled back home or to Mexico under the public health system, the US government has been unable to repatriate Venezuelans due to scant diplomatic relations between Washington and Caracas. So far, Mexico has not been ready to receive Venezuelans from the United States.

The humanitarian parole program announced Wednesday appears to be a more limited version of previous proposals. Officials familiar with the discussions said one under consideration last week included Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguas. It was not immediately clear why these nationalities were ultimately excluded.

Mr. Biden has overseen a record number of border crossings that are part of a global movement that includes more displaced people than ever before. Since he took office, the government has examined and released him More than a million immigrants Those who have crossed the border illegally, are given temporary permission to remain in the country until they face deportation proceedings in immigration court. The Biden administration has also expelled immigrants more than two million times under the Public Health Act.

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The Biden administration tried to stop using Public Health Authority earlier this year, but a The Federal Court has stopped than doing so. Now the administration has expanded power instead.

But for weak Democrats in border states, such as Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, the ability to campaign for the latest expansion in Title 42 could come in handy in a tight race, said Carl Fogliani, a Republican political strategist.

“They want them to be there and say what a wonderful development this is,” Mr. Fogliani said of the White House and Democrats dealing with border issues.