New migration pathway for Venezuelans
On October 12, the path to citizenship for Venezuelan immigrants changed significantly: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new immigration procedure due to the surge in migration from Venezuela.
In its effort to build a “fair, orderly, and secure immigration system,” the Biden-Harris administration has mandated that any Venezuelan who seeks to enter the U.S. illegally will be returned to Mexico.
At the same time, there is a new, legal pathway available to up to 24,000 incoming Venezuelan immigrants. This new means of legal immigration requires three components:
- The Venezuelan immigrant already has a financial supporter in the U.S.
- They pass a rigorous biometric and biographic national security screening
- They complete vaccinations and other public health requirements
While this could provide a beacon of hope for certain prospective Venezuelan immigrants, it is important to know there are several criteria that makes someone ineligible to pursue this new pathway:
- The Venezuelan immigrant has been ordered to be removed from the U.S. in the past five years
- They have crossed the U.S. border illegally after October 12 (date of announcement)
- They have irregularly entered Mexico or Panama after October 12
- They are a permanent resident/dual national of another country besides Venezuela
- They currently hold refugee status in another country
- They have not completed vaccinations or public health requirements
This new process is designed to relieve pressure at the southern border, as any incoming immigrant who is granted access this way will travel via plane to an interior point of entry.
Since 2014, more than 25% of Venezuelans have left their home country. In the last few months, the U.S. has seen a influx of Venezuelan immigrants. In September, 33,000 Venezuelan immigrants were encountered at a U.S. land border, compared to an average of 127 monthly encounters throughout 2014-2019.