Biden Administration to Resume Deportations to Venezuela
FAIR Take | October 2023
Last Thursday, the Biden Administration announced that it was resuming deportations of Venezuelans back to their home country. The agreement between the U.S. government and the Maduro regime comes on the heels of meetings in Mexico City between high-ranking U.S. officials, including Secretary Mayorkas and Secretary Blinken, and diplomats from Mexico, Panama, and Colombia to discuss illegal migration across the region.
While the removal of illegal aliens is already required by law, the U.S. has not had diplomatic ties with Venezuela since 2019. That has meant Venezuelans illegally entering the U.S. have faced virtually no consequences. The U.S. government has deported some Venezuelans back to their home country through third countries, such as the Dominican Republic. And, more recently, upon the creation of the (illegal) parole program for Venezuelans in October 2022, the U.S. government struck an agreement with Mexico to accept Venezuelans removed from the U.S.
While the Biden Administration is touting how it is imposing consequences for Venezuelans illegally in the U.S., the truth is that the Biden Administration has officially shielded most Venezuelans from deportation. In March 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Venezuelans in the U.S. at that time would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which generally prohibits their deportation and makes them eligible to obtain work permits. Moreover, just last month, DHS offered TPS to all of the newly arrived Venezuelans — those who had illegally entered the U.S. since the original granting of TPS – approximately 472,000. Thus, for all of its boasting, the threat of deporting illegal migrants back to Venezuela will only apply to the most recent arrivals.
In the end, the announcement of direct deportations to Venezuela marks another attempt by President Biden to create the perception that it is doing something to stem illegal immigration, which has been spiraling out of control ever since he took office. Venezuelans make up a large portion of those illegally crossing into the U.S., and the surge started as soon as the President began implementing his open-borders policies. In February 2021, the number of Venezuelans caught at our borders was approximately 1,100. By August 2023, that number was over 37,000, and unofficial data suggests that for September, the number was 50,000. All in all, over half a million Venezuelans have been encountered illegally crossing into the U.S. while President Biden has been in office.