- The Biden administration’s border policies aren’t as humane or secure as it says they are, two migrants told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- Elio and Bleisker, who are both from Venezuela, came to the U.S. legally and illegally, respectively, and spoke with the DCNF about the differences in their experiences.
- Since March 2019, Venezuelan migrants have lacked the legal pathways to come to the U.S., making the dangerous illegal trek almost the only option to escape threats and corruption.
Stafford, Texas — Elio and Bleisker grew up together in Venezuela, but fled the country at different times to come to the U.S.: Elio, legally under the Trump administration, and Bleisker, illegally under the Biden administration.
The Biden administration has been open to illegal migrants, which isn’t necessarily the best way to protect them or U.S. national security, Elio and Bleisker explained in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Biden-Appointed Border Patrol Chief Admits There’s A ‘Crisis’ At The Southern Border)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in May that the Biden administration is committed to ensuring migrants are able to come through “humane pathways.”
“I think the current policies, they can benefit people like Bleisker, he’s a young person and I believe has very good intentions in coming here, but it could also benefit someone completely different,” Elio said. “It can benefit a criminal.”
“They don’t have any documents to tell if they are criminals or not,” Bleisker added.
Elio had the opportunity to come legally by obtaining a travel visa in Venezuela and applying for asylum on U.S. soil. But Bleisker was not as fortunate.
The U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, closed in March 2019, leaving displaced Venezuelans with “insurmountable obstacles” to coming legally, Cato Associate Director of Immigration Studies David Bier told the DCNF.
“When they can get to another country, they’d almost always have to prove that they have a residence that they have no intention to abandon, an impossible burden for someone who’s already fled their home,” Bier said.
The number of Venezuelan migrants encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the southern border began surging in February 2021. Between October 2021 and July 2022, 176,406 Venezuelan migrants have been encountered at the southern border, which is almost triple the number encountered the previous fiscal year.
“Unlike Ukrainians, the administration is making no accommodations for Venezuelans. Even in the rare cases when they have US citizen family, there are massive backlogs and waits that can last decades,” Bier said.
Since Biden took office, his administration has sought to scrap a number of Trump-era border policies. It most recently ended the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forced certain illegal migrants to await court proceedings in Mexico.
The Biden administration enacted a 100-day moratorium on deportations in January 2021 and limited who Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could arrest.
“Although this country has faced lots of changes through the years, it’s still the country where the constitution protects their people to live and grow well. It’s a country where anyone -no matter where you come from- can prosper and grow as long as they follow the rules (and learn to adapt). It’s a beautiful and organized country,” Bleisker said.
Elio spoke with the DCNF before heading to his job a hospital in the Houston area, where at 19-years-old, he works as a nurse assistant and translator. It’s a stark contrast to the 15-year-old Elio who arrived in the country just a few years before not knowing the language.
“We got here after problems in Venezuela started rising up back in 2018 … I thought it was hard until I got to hear my friend’s story,” Elio said.
When he arrived in the U.S. in 2018, Elio was told that the Trump administration was against migrants, which he said wasn’t the reality of his experience.
“Coming here and all you hear from everyone is that Trump was bad towards immigrants, it was an absolute lie. And I’m not saying this in a bias position, I’m saying this because I lived both administrations,” Elio said.
Bleisker didn’t have the same opportunity as Elio, but still hopes to contribute to American society and encourages other migrants like him to do the same.
“I believe he didn’t have the same opportunity we had to have all these legal means,” Elio said.
Elio said he must support Bleisker because every employer they’ve called requires applicants to have a social security number or a work permit. On top of that, Bleisker continues to face trauma from not only being threatened by criminals in his home country, but from his experiences along the weeks-long lone trip to the U.S.
He said he had trouble sleeping because of his experience just days before the interview, before he crossed into Yuma, Arizona, where he was taken into Border Patrol custody and later released to Catholic Charities, where he was able to purchase a flight to Houston.
Bleisker met a man along the way, who criminals in Panama’s Darien Jungle seemingly threatened by saying they would rape his young daughter. The man stood up to the criminals, who forced him to watch as they raped his daughter and then forced his daughter to watch as the man was raped.
But Bleisker hasn’t lost hope. He’s excited to learn English and become a productive member of American society.
“Just like Elio did, I will grow too,” Bleisker said. “Opportunities are endless here. Even with all the political changes it’s still one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.”
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