COLOMBIA-VENEZUELA BORDER (NBC) – The Biden administration said it will manage the surge of Venezuelans crossing the southern border with a new program, effective immediately, in which it will let 24,000 of them who have sponsors enter the United States and send the rest back to Mexico.
The administration will also use the Trump-era rule known as Title 42, a COVID ban it has been trying to end in court, to send Venezuelans back across the border.
To be admitted under the new program, Venezuelans will have to apply for entry while outside the country and prove they have a U.S.-based sponsor, similar to the program the Biden administration set up for Ukrainians in the spring.
The 24,000 accepted will have temporary humanitarian parole and authorization to work in the U.S.
Immigration advocates say the new program will leave the majority of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the U.S. living in dangerous conditions in camps and shelters in northern Mexico. They say it will also greatly expand a Trump-era policy the Biden administration said in court it wanted to end.
Title 42, the public health authority used since the beginning of the COVID pandemic to push migrants back into Mexico without allowing them to claim asylum, will now be expanded to include Venezuelans under a new deal reached between the U.S. and Mexico.
The result could mean thousands of Venezuelans living without the ability to work or find housing in dangerous cities like Juarez, Mexico.
Mexico had previously refused to accept Venezuelans who were expelled from the U.S., mainly because their home country does not accept them back.
Venezuelans were instead screened and released inside the U.S. while waiting for their cases to be heard in immigration court.
The more than 100,000 Venezuelans already in the U.S. will be allowed to stay and continue to seek asylum.
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