Highly skilled workers are increasingly leaving Venezuela and illegally crossing the U.S. border where most of them surrender to law enforcement and border officials in Del Rio, Texas, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Border officials encountered a record high of nearly 7,500 Venezuelan migrants in May, according to Customs and Border Protection. Around 17,300 Venezuelans have entered the U.S. illegally since January and many of them previously lived in other South American countries after fleeing Maduro’s rule.
Venezuelans are more successful at obtaining asylum because they know how to favorably present their cases to immigration judges and U.S. policies recognize Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s oppressive socialist regime, the AP reported.
Venezuelans usually make the journey to the U.S. in about four days, compared to Central Americans who have to hike through jungles and stay in cartel-run camps to get to the southern border, according to the AP.
“This is a journey they’re definitely prepared for from a financial standpoint,” Del Rio, Texas, shelter director Tiffany Burrow said, the AP reported. Burrow oversees the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition where migrants are provided with food, shelter and access to transportation services after arriving in the U.S.
The bulk of Venezuelans are on more solid financial footing than other migrants.
So they get better treatment from smugglers, who charge up to $4,000
Once in the US, Venezuelans also tend to fare better: only 26% had asylum requests rejected this yearhttps://t.co/DIKVApdu5t
— Joshua Goodman (@APjoshgoodman) June 28, 2021
Lis Briceno, 27, told the AP she’d left Venezuela for Chile after she was unable to get a job in petroleum engineering without declaring her loyalty to the country’s socialist government. She was able to get a job at a technology company before it closed and she sold most of her belongings to raise money to come to the U.S., the AP reported.
“I always thought I’d come here on vacation, to visit the places you see in the movies,” Briceno said, according to the AP. “But doing this? Never.” (RELATED: Officials Say Human Smugglers Bringing Migrants Into The US Illegally By The Hundreds)
“The truth is,” Briceno told the AP, “it’s better to wash toilets here than being an engineer over there.”
Venezuelan migrants usually fly to Mexico City or Cancun where they meet with smuggling organizations that advertise themselves as travel agencies offering transportation to the U.S. for around $3,000, the AP reported. The cost includes a guided entry from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, to Del Rio, Texas, where less violence has occurred.
“We’re doing things the way they do things here — under the table,” a smuggler said in a recording to a migrant, according to the AP. “You’ll never be alone. Someone will always be with you.”
More than 40% of family groups encountered at the border in May were from countries other than Mexico or the Northern Triangle region of Central America, the AP reported.
President Joe Biden granted Temporary Protected Status for around 320,000 Venezuelan migrants in March allowing them to work legally in the U.S. without fear of deportation, according to the AP. Migrants arriving at the U.S. border after the declaration won’t receive the protected status, though they can request asylum and most Venezuelans will be granted it on grounds of political repression.
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