The Stream

What lies ahead for displaced Venezuelans in Mexico?

On Tuesday, November 8 at 19:30 GMT:
Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Mexico who are trying to reach the United States face an uncertain future after the Biden administration abruptly brought them under an admissions policy long criticised by rights groups.

In recent months, tens of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing their country from economic hardship and social unrest have attempted to reach the US and request asylum, with some ultimately hoping to reunite with family members there. Many of those heading towards the US have already endured grinding poverty in Latin American and Caribbean countries after leaving Venezuela. The UN says 4.3 million displaced Venezuelans across the region currently face urgent challenges getting food, shelter and employment.

But as some displaced Venezuelans reach the US-Mexico frontier – many having sold all their possessions and traversed dangerous routes to get there – US border officials are implementing the Title 42 law to deport those who enter the country irregularly to Mexico, where they must await the outcome of their asylum applications.

Title 42 was used by the Trump administration for summary expulsions of refugees and migrants from countries including Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Biden administration has in recent months sought unsuccessfully to end Title 42, it has now added nationals of Venezuela to the provision under a deal with Mexico. Human rights groups say the move seriously hampers people’s rights to asylum, in violation of international law.

While announcing the sudden expansion of Title 42, the US government also introduced a process allowing about 24,000 Venezuelan nationals to come to the US under temporary parole. Thousands of people have already been granted clearance under the programme. But immigration rights groups say only a tiny fraction of Venezuelans are eligible under that programme’s stringent conditions, and that the vast majority of destitute people will remain in limbo.

In this episode of The Stream we’ll look at what lies ahead for vulnerable displaced Venezuelans and ask what action is needed to help them.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Manuel Rapalo, @Manuel_Rapalo
Correspondent, Al Jazeera

Helena Olea, @hmolea
Associate Director for Programs, Alianza Americas