When will the US begin deporting Venezuelan migrants in an irregular situation?

The announcement of the governments of the United States and Venezuela on the direct deportation of citizens of the South American country was surprising, taking into account that Washington and Caracas are at odds and since 2019 they have not had relations. But there are still many doubts about the process.

(Read also: US will resume deportation of migrants to Venezuela after agreement with Maduro)

Joe Biden’s administration now considers it “safe” to return Venezuelans who have no legal basis to remain in the United States, a position that has been questioned by opponents and exiles.

But the truth is that these deportations are not new. Until now, they were not evident to the public because there are no direct flights between the US and Venezuela, but they have been flying from Mexico for some time.

Since May 12, 17,000 people have been repatriated from Mexico “including Venezuelans,” Blas Núñez-Neto, Undersecretary for Border Policy and Immigration at the US Department of Homeland Security, said this Friday in a virtual press conference.

Núñez-Neto added that until this week “Venezuela was not accepting direct repatriations” and that “in a few days the repatriation flights will begin.”

However, it is unknown What will the process be like and if it will be carried out through the sanctioned state company Conviasawhich has a ban on setting foot on US soil and a few other countries that adhere to the sanctions imposed by the US.

(Also read: Why is Joe Biden toughening his policies against illegal migration?)

US border forces reported 1.8 million encounters with migrants in the past 12 months.

Photo:

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

When asked what changed to reach an agreement with the government of Nicolás Maduro, the official insisted that the entire process has been done in accordance with US laws and that Venezuelans have not been abandoned. In September alone, 50,000 citizens of that country entered the United States irregularly, the majority coming from the Darién jungle.

“The humanitarian parole process has allowed more than 130,000 Venezuelans to enter legally in the last year. For those who cross illegally we have increased consequences, such as asylum eligibility,” Núñez-Neto insisted.

According to official data, the border patrol has intercepted Venezuelans more than 100,000 times on the border with Mexico from May to the end of August of this year. In the same period the previous year the figure was around 43,000.

(Also read: Venezuela issues arrest warrant against Juan Guaidó and requests an alert from Interpol)

Added to Núñez-Neto’s statements are those of Mark Wells, principal assistant secretary of the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, who assured that these measures are a continuation of the meeting held in Mexico to address immigration issues.

He also added that “For a long time” his country had urged Venezuela to accept its citizens back.

ANA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ BRAZÓN
TIME CORRESPONDENT
CARACAS

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