FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesIllegal Immigration by Venezuelan Nationals Falls Drastically After Strict Enforcement Policy

More than one fourth of the population of Venezuela has left their country, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
October 28, 2022
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new policy earlier this month designed to reduce “irregular migration” from Venezuela by returning those who cross illegally back to Mexico and creating a path for another 24,000 to be admitted legally.

Daily illegal crossings by Venezuelan persons reportedly dropped from 1,200 to 150 after the federal government instituted the new guidelines.

The federal government reported 2.38 million encounters with illegal immigrants during Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). That does not include the individuals who evaded detection, arrest, or both.

In the operational update for September, Commissioner Chris Magnus indicated that there was a drop in illegal crossings after the policy was launched.

Magnus commented in a news release published on October 21, “Over the past week, the number of Venezuelans attempting to enter the country fell more than 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launch of the joint enforcement actions. While this early data is not reflected in the latest report, it confirms what we’ve said all along: when there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border unlawfully.”

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The DHS described the new policy in a news release.

“Effective immediately, Venezuelans who enter the United States between ports of entry, without authorization, will be returned to Mexico,” the DHS stated. “At the same time, the United States and Mexico are reinforcing their coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice.”

The department also discussed the skyrocketing number of Venezuelan individuals breaching the southern border prior to the policy.

“Average monthly unique encounters of Venezuelan nationals at the land border totaled 15,494 in FY 2022, rising further to over 25,000 in August and 33,000 in September, compared to a monthly average of 127 unique encounters from FY 2014–2019,” the news release states. “Of note, unique encounters of Venezuelan nationals rose 293 percent between FY 2021 and FY 2022, while unique encounters of all other nationalities combined increased 45 percent.”

Under the new guidelines, anyone from Venezuela who crosses the border illegally will be sent back to Mexico, per an agreement between the U.S. and the Mexican government. If Mexico upholds its end of the deal, an additional 24,000 Venezuelan nationals — more than the population of Fort Hood — will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they have a financial sponsor, get vaccinated, and pass “rigorous” security checks, among other requirements, per the DHS.

An example of someone who is ineligible for the program would be a Venezuelan national who has been deported from the U.S. in the past five years or who crossed illegally between ports of entry. The government noted that the policy is modeled after the one by which Ukrainian refugees have entered the U.S.

The DHS stated that more than one fourth of Venezuelans have fled the country.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."