US government says that expulsions of Venezuelans are not a response to criticism from Republicans

The US government ruled out that the decision to expel Venezuelans to Mexico was influenced by the actions of Republican governors, who sent migrant buses to different cities in the country to claim Joe Biden’s immigration policy.

The decision of the Government of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to decree expulsions of Venezuelans to Mexico to those who cross the southern border was not related to the sending of migrants on buses to different cities in the country by Republican governors, a US official said Thursday.

“This process has nothing to do with that,” said Blas Nuñez-Neto, head of border policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), when asked at a press conference if the decision to expelling the majority of Venezuelans who arrive by land to the US was related to the strategy of some Republican governors.

Since April of this year, the governors of states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida have sent thousands of Venezuelans who crossed the border with Mexico on buses to cities governed by Democrats, such as New York, Washington DC and Chicago.

The new measures of the Biden Government to control the migration of people from Venezuela He arrives less than a month before the mid-term elections, where his party is playing for control of Congress.

Along with the announcement of the expulsion of Venezuelans, the US also created a new immigration relief program for Venezuelans with which they hope to “disincentivize” migratory movement through different countries in the region, including Panama and Mexico.

The program, which is similar to a benefit that the US already gives to people from Ukraine, has a limit of 24,000 applicants, a much lower number compared to the number of Venezuelans who have been arrested crossing the border with Mexico in recent months.

Only last August, more than 25,000 arrests were registered and in the last eleven months the figure has risen to about 150,000, according to data from the Customs and Border Protection Office.

DHS said Thursday that the maximum number of people contemplated by the immigration benefit may be expanded in the future.

“We are going to be closely reviewing how effective the program is and if it works we are going to start a process to review if it can be expanded,” the official said on the call.

To enter the program, people must apply online and have a US sponsor who has the resources to support them financially during the time they spend in the country.

Applicants can expect a very quick response to their case, according to Nuñez-Nieto: “In the Ukraine process we have had cases in which the travel application to the US is approved in less than a week,” explained the official.

Those who have been deported from the US in the last 5 years or who have entered Panama or Mexico irregularly cannot receive the immigration benefit. Those who have permanent residence or citizenship of another country are also not eligible.

Unlike the program for Venezuelans, the US did not establish a maximum number of people who can receive immigration relief for Ukrainians, which was announced in April and from which some 65,000 people have benefited, according to the latest available data.

More than 6.1 million Venezuelans have left their country, in what is the second largest migration crisis in the world, surpassed only by that of Syria, according to the organization Refugees International.

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