Sin una Casa: Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis Worsened by US Immigration Policy

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Continuing a Trump-era policy to keep migrants from seeking asylum in the name of limiting the spread of COVID-19, the Biden administration expanded Title 42 to expel Venezuelan migrants to Mexico, José Luis Granados Ceja reported for Venezuelanalysis in October 2022.

Although the Biden administration’s extension of Title 42 allowed for the acceptance of as many as 24,000 Venezuelans, this only applied to migrants entering through US airports who could meet stringent requirements. Beyond that exception, the result of the administration’s decision to extend Title 42 was “havoc at the US-Mexico border,” the breakup of migrant families, and “a ripple effect in the region,” Venezuelanalysis reported.

Venezuelans face dire circumstances after deportation. Mexico has given migrants fifteen days to leave or face deportation to Guatemala. The Guatemalan government has pledged to deport them to neighboring Honduras.

A DHS press release stated that Title 42 aims to assist US cities and states in their immigration and border patrol activities. But, as Venezuelanalysis reported, the DHS account followed close on the heels of governors from Texas and Florida being accused of human trafficking of Venezuelans as they engaged in “political theater” with little to no regard for migrants’ humanity or rights.

Beyond US borders, the deportations of Venezuelan migrants have had consequences for other migrant groups coming into the United States. Originally, Title 42 was only intended to affect Venezuelans, but the Biden administration expanded it to cover all immigrants. Up to this change, deported Haitian migrants were returned to their home country. Now, according to PrismReports, these migrants may be deported to Mexico.

Multiple factors have spurred Venezuelans to leave their home country. As Venezuelanalysis reported in a separate article, an economic crisis caused by US sanctions is one leading cause. The International Rescue Committee says that due to this economic crisis a third of the population, approximately 9.3 million people, were “acutely food insecure as of 2019.”

In October 2022, Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Bill Melugin, and Jeff Zymeri published an article highlighting a protest by Venezuelan migrants in Matamoros, Mexico, which temporarily shut down all traffic across the international bridge between it and the United States. Also in October 2022, the New York Times reported that, although Venezuelan immigration to the United States had increased substantially, it accounted for just seven percent of total crossings into the United States.

In November 2022, a US federal judge struck down Title 42, though that decision is likely to face challenges.

Source: José Luis Granados Ceja, “Venezuelan Migrants in Disarray After Biden Expands Title 42 Expulsions,” Venezulanalysis, October 17, 2022.

Student Researcher: Rodolfo Rubio-Guerra (Salisbury University)

Faculty Evaluator: Jennifer Cox (Salisbury University)