The Biden administration will restart efforts to remove illegal Venezuelan immigrants from the United States after years of heightened illegal border crossings.
“We have made a determination it is safe to return Venezuelan nationals who arrived in the United States subsequent to July 31 and do not have a legal basis to remain here,” said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement, per The Blaze.
Over 200,000 Venezuelan migrants have illegally entered the U.S. during the last 11 months, according to data from Customs and Border Protection. Migrants from Venezuela account for 9% of all illegal immigrants who arrive in the country.
The Department of Homeland Security said it “remains grateful” to President Joe Biden and “other nations in the hemisphere” for efforts to “address historic mass migration.”
“In keeping with our commitment to enforce our immigration laws, and to continue strengthening the consequences for those who cross our border unlawfully, the United States is announcing today that it will resume direct repatriations of Venezuelan nationals who cross our border unlawfully and do not establish a legal basis to remain,” said DHS in a press release on Oct. 5.
“This decision is consistent with the Administration’s efforts to implement a strategy of humane, safe, and orderly enforcement of our immigration laws and to process individuals in a fair and fast manner,” the agency continued. “These efforts include the Administration’s significant expansion of lawful pathways to enter the United States, including for Venezuelans, which have allowed hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to enter the country in a safe and orderly manner through our humanitarian parole process and after making an appointment through the CBP One mobile application.”
The federal government did not specify if the deportations would be conducted with commercial or military airplanes. Flights are expected to begin in the coming days.
“Large-scale deportations to Venezuela would likely spark a humanitarian outcry, as the country’s authoritarian socialist government has presided over intense internal repression of dissidents as years-long hyperinflation and one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere has sent citizens fleeing,” notes The New York Post.
In September, approximately 50,000 Venezuelans illegally arrived in the U.S. – representing about a quarter of all migrants apprehended by Border Patrol per CBS News. The number reflects a significant increase from August, when around 31,000 illegal immigrants who crossed the southern border were from Venezuela.
The number of people who have left Venezuela, roughly 7 million, in recent years amid economic collapse and social unrest is believed to be greater than the total number of people who have fled Syria or Ukraine.
After almost three years of relaxed border policies, the Biden Administration now seems to be responding to requests for action from border states and sanctuary cities. The DHS announced on Oct. 4 that it will waive 26 federal laws in order to rapidly construct approximately 20 new miles of border wall in South Texas.
Biden halted border wall construction on his first day in office. Building the border wall was one of former President Donald Trump’s major promises during his first campaign in 2016.
Democrats have denounced Biden’s decision to strengthen the border and remove illegal Venezuelan immigrants from the country.
“I thought, after the Trump administration, we would stop resorting to draconian and inhumane policies to address our challenges at the border,” said New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, who is currently battling bribery charges, in a press release. “Instead, the Biden administration continues to take pages from Trump’s anti-immigrant playbook.”