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(WABNEWS) — The Biden administration is considering a new program to encourage Venezuelan immigrants — who have a pre-existing link to the United States — to go to US ports of entry rather than illegally cross the southern border, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.
The proposal comes amid an influx of immigrants of those nationalities at the US-Mexico border, straining federal and border city resources. In August, 55,333 migrants found at the border were from Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua, a 175% increase from last August, according to the Department of Homeland Security.RELATED
The plan is intended to serve as an expanded and more orderly process. If the immigrants meet the criteria, then they would be paroled into the US with the ability to work legally as well.
Mexico is also expected to accept several Venezuelans under a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule, known as Title 42, that allows authorities to turn away migrants at the US-Mexico border, according to two sources.
Administration officials have been dealing with mass migration across the Western Hemisphere for months, emphasizing the need for all countries to help ease the flow and create better conditions at home. The issue was again the subject of discussion last week at a meeting of foreign ministers in Lima, Peru.
The shift in demographics — with many of the immigrants now from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua — is exceptionally difficult for the US given, in part, frosty relations with those nations that largely prevent the administration from removing people of those countries.
The proposal being considered is an acknowledgment of the reality that Venezuelans are largely released into the US as they go through immigration procedures and, in some cases, have family or friends they are meeting in the country.
WABNEWS has reached out to the White House for comment.
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The Biden administration has taken an approach similar to the one being considered with Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country, allowing them to enter the United States and work for a temporary period. That program was established to prevent Ukrainians from reaching the US-Mexico border and to ensure an orderly process.
Poor economic conditions, food shortages and limited access to health care are increasingly pushing Venezuelans to leave, posing an urgent and serious challenge to the administration as thousands arrive at the United States’ southern border. Joined.
More than 6 million Venezuelans have fled their country amid deteriorating conditions, matching Ukraine in the number of displaced people and surpassing Syria, according to the United Nations. More than 1,000 Venezuelans are apprehended daily along the US-Mexico border, according to a Homeland Security official.
Venezuelans detained at the US-Mexico border are generally paroled into the US and released under an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program that monitors people through monitors ankle monitors with GPS, phones, or an app while they go through their immigration procedures. But the latest proposal is expected to take a more organized approach.
The jump in the movement of Venezuelans in the hemisphere emerged during a White House meeting last month with 19 countries from the Western Hemisphere, a senior administration official previously told WABNEWS.
“We found that a lack of coordination leads to more migrants being exploited,” the senior administration official said. “There is consensus that there is value in us working more closely and trying to sync up our policies.”