Awareness - October 17, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - October 17, 2022

DHS announces a new policy for Venezuelan migrants 

Following a sharp increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, DHS announced a new plan to allow a limited number of Venezuelans to enter the U.S. by air under temporary parole while also turning back those who arrive at the border under a new agreement with Mexico. Under the new plan, up to 24,000 Venezuelans will be allowed to fly to the U.S. with 2 years of parole if they have a U.S. sponsor, similar to the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program that was rolled out earlier this year. Those who cross the border into Mexico or Panama without authorization after October 12th will be ineligible for the program, as will any migrants who have been deported from the U.S. within the last 5 years.

Alongside the new parole program, DHS will also change their implementation of Title 42 to return Venezuelans who arrive without prior authorization back to Mexico, a practice that has not been previously allowed. While this policy change is meant to discourage Venezuelan migrants from taking the perilous land journey to reach the U.S., AP News reported on Monday that many continue the journey. UNHCR announced last week that the number of Venezuelans who have fled the country as refugees or migrants has now surpassed 7 million, a displacement crisis similar in size to that of Ukrainians.

While it's encouraging that the new program provides a legal path for thousands, there are also questions about its impact on those who are already at the border or on their way now, who will be barred from seeking asylum. With more than 25,000 Venezuelans encountered by CBP in August, this new allowance of 24,000 is a small fraction of those who have already made the journey to the border or who are currently in the process of that trek north. A letter from dozens of NGOs serving immigrants expresses concern that the plan limits the right to seek asylum, stating, “Instead of coupling the parole program to Title 42, DHS can and should take all legally permissible steps to restore access to asylum at ports of entry, regardless of the asylum seeker’s nationality or other factors, and to cease–not expand–Title 42 expulsions. The Biden administration should also redouble efforts to rebuild and strengthen the pace and capacity of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to process more refugees from Venezuela and other countries.”

Current DACA recipients allowed to remain in the program as Judge Hanen continues his review

On Friday Judge Hanen of Texas issued a ruling that upholds his former decision on DACA while he continues to review changes in the case. Earlier this month the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the program was illegal and that the case should go back for the lower court to review a new rule on the Federal Register codifying the DACA program. While Judge Hanen evaluates the legality of the new federal rule, he maintains that the program is illegal and new applications cannot be approved, but allows current recipients to remain protected for now. 

Update on the status of Afghan evacuees in the U.S.

Last week CBS News reported an update on the status of Afghans who arrived in the United States after the Taliban takeover last summer. Camilo Montoya-Galvez reports that more than 17,400 Afghans who arrived under humanitarian parole have applied for either special immigration visas (SIV) or for asylum in the past year. Of the approximately 8,000 asylum applications received by USCIS from Afghan evacuees, only around 1,500 have been approved. Without one of these avenues to adjust their status, humanitarian parole protections will begin to expire next year unless Congress passes an adjustment act to provide a path to permanent residence.