Being told no has finally worn thin with the Venezuelan immigrants clustered at America’s southern border. Along the Rio Grande in El Paso, a large group of migrants waving Venezuelan and Honduran flags stormed across the international boundary. They were welcomed by Border Patrol crowd-controlling projectiles commonly known as pepper bombs. Chaos erupted as rocks were thrown, flagpoles were turned into makeshift clubs, and injuries occurred on both sides of the skirmish.
The Biden administration has been expelling Venezuelan migrants and sending them back to Mexico since mid-October, and hopeful refugees have found themselves in asylum purgatory, hoping for a change in attitude. But instead, they cut a deal with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Basically, López Obrador agreed to absorb refugees under Title 42: a convenient holdover policy engaged for COVID by the Trump administration. And what does Mexico get in return? Well, the US promised 65,000 additional work visas for Mexican, Central American, and Haitian migrants.
But a change of heart isn’t coming from the Swamp quite yet, and officials say the number of Venezuelans illegally crossing has quadrupled over the past year. According to United Nations, more than 7 million have fled the South American country, and few seem to have planted roots anywhere between here and there.
But there is no border crisis.
Mexico: Not a Fan of Joe
President López Obrador may have agreed to Joe Biden’s wish list, but not everyone in Mexico is sitting quietly. Rosa Maria Gonzalez, chair of the Migrant Affairs Committee in Mexico’s lower house of Congress, has not been shy in poking holes in the Biden immigrant deal:
“I think it’s time we say enough is enough. I know we have a relationship with the United States to think of, but the topic of migration hasn’t been easy. The United States treats Mexico like a petty cash drawer. Everything they don’t want they send here.”
Others believe the lack of action on the border is due to the US midterm elections and not much else. Democrats can’t appear weak on immigration while the economy is in recession, inflation is bolting upwards, gas prices are ridiculous, and no one can afford the staples to live. The tone of Rep. Veronica Escobar, (D-TX) is tepid at best. In a recently released statement, Escobar is “concerned about everyone’s safety and security in the area.” Wow. That’s certainly putting the hammer down, Ms. Escobar. But who would ever accuse Democrats of not wanting the southern border wide open? Isn’t it past time to drop Title 42?
Eunice Rendon of Agenda Migrante, an expert in migration and violence prevention, is not shy about blaming this administration and calling the president out by name: “[Title 42] is an inhumane policy. It may have been installed by [Donald] Trump, but it has been utilized more by Biden. In other words, the one who has abused it the most is Biden’s government.”
Midterms for Venezuelan Immigrants
The US midterm elections will be a barometer of what direction Americans prefer in moving ahead in this great experiment known as our constitutional republic. Though his name doesn’t appear on the ballot this year, one could argue that the election is really about Joe Biden and whether he has made the country a better place to live. Venezuelan immigrants will be watching what happens on November 8 as well. And you can bet November 9 will be a new day for all involved.
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