The first deportation of Venezuelan migrants by the United States government surprised hundreds of compatriots and migrants of other nationalities who were stranded in the Mexican city of Tapachula, state of Chiapas, on Mexico’s southern border, and who are seeking to reach the US.
The Venezuelans asked the United States government to grant them an extension so that their countrymen, stranded in Tapachula, would be allowed to reach the northern border.
On Thursday, US Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, warned Venezuelan migrants that they will fail if they try to enter US territory illegally, and invited them to seek one of the protection visas announced by the government.
Mayorkas spoke a day after the United States and Mexico reached an agreement by which the United States government will offer 24,000 visas for Venezuelans (in Venezuela) and will return to Mexican territory all those who cross the border illegally.
However, in Tapachula, Venezuelan migrants and from other countries announced that hundreds of people from Venezuela as well as from Colombia, Nicaragua and other nationalities are on their way to the United States.
Shelter is being prepared in Mexico
With the possible return of Venezuelans, the XXI Century Migratory Station, a place established by Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration to provide temporary lodging to migrants who cannot prove their regular migratory status, announced Thursday that they are preparing to receive hundreds of Venezuelan migrants.
Venezuelan Joan Blanco told EFE that she is “desperate and with uncertainty, due to the lack of information,” and regretted that the US government “had not set a deadline” for them to enter US territory.
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“This affects us in every sense because we are already in Mexico, and we had free passage and now we no longer have it. They closed it. We ask that they look for a solution, because we are going to continue advancing and complete the trajectory to the United States,” she said.
Meanwhile, a Venezuelan migrant who preferred anonymity said that this news left them perplexed because she and her compatriots come from “a country where they have nothing and have started their journey to seek a better future. For what are we going to return to Venezuela?”
Most of these Venezuelan migrants have entered Mexico in an irregular manner, through the border limits with Guatemala and have reached Tapachula by circumventing immigration checkpoints in Central America and Mexico.
In Tapachula, the migrants have not given notice that any caravan is leaving soon because either they do not know, or they are waiting for more migrants to organize themselves, while agents of Mexican Immigration and the Mexican Army began to carry out operations in the center of Tapachula.
The number of Venezuelans exceeds that of Central Americans
On the new US program, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard explained that the undocumented Venezuelans that the US is deporting to Mexico have already passed through Mexican territory, so they are not new migrants.
He stressed that “most importantly” is that it allows Venezuelans to do their paperwork remotely without having to set out on a “trip” to the US border.
He also assured that the number of Venezuelans in Mexico is already higher than that of Central Americans and explained that many have requested asylum in the country.
The United States plan is similar to the one already in place for citizens of Ukraine, which grants a two-year temporary status to those who have a sponsor in the United States.
The US announcement comes amid a surge in Venezuelan arrivals at the Mexican border. Between October 2021 and August of this year, more than 150,000 Venezuelans have been arrested at the US southern border, up from 50,499 on the same period last year.