U.S. reports record drop in entry and deportation of Venezuelans in October

A fourth flight with deportees left the US for Caracas this week (EFE/ Lucas Aguayo Araos)

(Washington, USA) Government of America Friday marked the start of a resumption after a deal struck last month with Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship. Exile of Venezuela towards Caracas, Attempts by its nationals to enter the country were greatly reduced.

Blas Nunez-Neto, the Department of Homeland Security’s undersecretary for border and immigration policy, made the announcement during a press conference with Eric Jacobstein, the undersecretary for Central America and Immigration.

In the second half of October there was a 74% decrease in Venezuelan national encounters compared to what we had in September.“We attribute that to the resumption of repatriation flights,” Nuñez-Neto said.

He also pointed out There has been a significant reduction in crossings through the dangerous Darien Forest, between Colombia and Panama.

A fourth flight this week from the United States to Caracas was carrying people back home, the official said.

Venezuelans board a plane to be transferred to their country (EFE/Joédson Alves)
Venezuelans board a plane to be transferred to their country (EFE/Joédson Alves)

When asked how deportations could affect the safety of people sent to countries with authoritarian governments, the official pointed out that deportations are carried out in view of international obligations such as the Convention Against Torture. “We review them carefully,” he said, and promised that people will not be deported when there is a “credible fear that they will be tortured.”

“We only return to Cuba, Venezuela or any country where deportation has been ordered and we have not established a legal basis for being in the United States,” he said.

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U.S. officials also said they have deported or turned back more than 380,000 people who tried to enter the U.S. illegally through the Mexican border since the lifting of the COVID-19 health emergency on May 12. This is a historical record.

“Since May 12, we have deported or repatriated more than 380,000 people we found to have attempted to enter the United States illegally or without authorization,” Nuñez-Neto said.

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro accepts that the United States will begin sending planes with exiled Venezuelans (EFE/ Miguel Gutiérrez)
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro accepts that the United States will begin sending planes with exiled Venezuelans (EFE/ Miguel Gutiérrez)

The Washington Office of Latin American Affairs (WOLA), an organization that closely monitors human rights issues in the region from Washington, publishes a weekly report on migration along the Mexican border.

WOLA’s director of security monitoring, Adam Isaacson, wrote in a report this Friday that the drop in Venezuelan arrivals to the U.S. was to be expected due to the announcement of deportations after June.

Isaacson described this as a typical “wait and see” reaction, but estimates that earnings will grow again soon.

Comparing the entire month of October to September, arrivals from Venezuela to the US were up 39% (66,584 in September and 40,863 in October).

“That’s because the US and Venezuelan governments announced on October 5 that they would resume extradition flights to Caracas. “While these flights have been rare until now, the possibility of repatriation to Venezuela appears to have led many Venezuelan citizens to ‘wait and see’ and consider delaying their plans,” Isaacson said.

“This decline will be short-lived,” the expert opined, “as conditions in the country worsen and Venezuelans considering emigration realize that there is little real possibility of flight deportation.”

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The press conference also highlighted how US officials have made progress in expanding legal processes and regular channels for migrants.

For example, since January this year, more than 324,000 people have entered through official border ports through a mobile app that allows them to request an appointment.

Additionally, nearly 270,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans have entered the country on temporary humanitarian permits.

“This represents the largest expansion of legal channels for the United States in decades,” State Department official Jacobstein said.

In his speech, Jacobstein emphasized regional cooperation and humanitarian assistance programs promoted by Joe Biden’s administration to address the migration crisis.

Recently, Biden announced nearly $500 million in additional humanitarian aid for refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past two years, the United States has allocated more than $2.4 billion in humanitarian aid to the region.

The official highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of irregular migration so that people are not motivated to undertake the journey north, which in most cases turns out to be extremely dangerous.

Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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