- The US and Mexican governments are creating new measures to mitigate irregular migration
- New border crossing measures are being put in place at the US-MX border
- President Biden is also starting a new refugee program to help qualified Venezuelans lawfully enter the US
After assuming office in January 2021, President Joseph Biden outlined a plan to reform the immigration system in the US. The Biden Administration’s latest initiative, in collaboration with the government of Mexico, is aimed at addressing the growing humanitarian crisis of Venezuelan refugees at the US-Mexico border and the need for safe, legal entry options between the two countries.
Since 2014, millions of Venezuelan nationals have fled their country due to severe economic and humanitarian issues. According to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about 25% of the population has left the country. Many have fled to the US to escape conflict in their home country and have sought entry primarily through the southern border. To control irregular migration from Venezuela, the Biden Administration, with the assistance of the government of Mexico, has coordinated the launch of a new system to admit up to 24,000 qualifying Venezuelans into the US lawfully.
Eligible applicants must provide proof that they entered Mexico before October 13, 2022, to apply for entry into the US by air. Additional eligibility requirements for lawful entry into the US by Venezuelan nationals include:
- Demonstrating that the individual has a supporter located in the US who will provide all necessary support, including financial support
- Passing a biometric and biographic public safety screening and vetting for national security
- Completing all vaccination requirements and other public health requirements
Applicants from Venezuela will be ineligible for lawful entry into the US if they:
- Have been ordered to be removed from the country in the past five years
- Have crossed into the US without authorization between ports of entry after the date of the program’s announcement
- Irregularly entered Panama or Mexico after the announcement date
- Are a permanent resident or dual national of any country besides Venezuela
- Currently, hold refugee status in another country
- Have not completed all vaccinations or met public health requirements
The US government will also work with the Mexican government to ensure Mexico accepts the return of Venezuelans who attempt to enter the US without legal authorization.
The US government’s attempt to regulate migration from Venezuela is based on the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program, which was successfully implemented to regulate migration from Ukraine at the start of the crisis in Ukraine earlier in 2022. DHS will monitor the Venezuela program’s implementation. The program may be expanded in the future if it is successful.
The US government is also creating additional labor pathways. In 2022, the US doubled the number of H-2B visas given to Central American individuals, according to the DHS announcement. In FY 2023, the US government will release 65,000 new visas, including 20,000 for individuals from Haiti and northern Central America. Along with allocating more visas, the US government provides more financial assistance to Mexico and Central America.
In collaboration with the United States Department of Homeland Security, the government of Mexico also plans to introduce changes that will increase labor mobility between the regions by providing 65,000 new H2-B work visas for temporary non-agricultural workers. Twenty thousand of these visas are intended for nationals from Central America and Haiti. The government of Mexico stated that these measures are only temporary and are designed to ensure safe, legal crossing into the US.
Individuals seeking entry into the US, and representatives who want to apply as a supporter to sponsor a Venezuelan, must apply through the designated USCIS website.
The new Venezuelan program is part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce irregular migration across the Western Hemisphere. According to the DHS announcement, the program is designed to simultaneously increase enforcement and prevent individuals from unlawfully entering the country while establishing safe and lawful pathways for qualified individuals.
Written by: Lucy Halse, Content Marketing Associate, Envoy Global
Edited by: Dmitri Pikman, Supervising Attorney, Corporate Immigration Partners
Source: Department of Homeland Security (DHS)