The number of illegal border crossings by Venezuelan immigrants has fallen from 1,200 a day early in October to just 150 a day in the wake of new rules implemented by the Biden administration. Now according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, tens of thousands are stranded in Mexico sleeping on the streets, in tents and overflowing shelters.
On Oct. 12, the Department of Homeland Security announced that all Venezuelans who cross illegally will be sent back to Mexico. The U.S. will also work to bring in up to 24,000 qualifying Venezuelan immigrants who have a financial sponsor, pass a national security screening and complete a series of vaccinations and other health requirements.
“While failing regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua continued to drive a new wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, the number of Venezuelans arriving at the southern border decreased sharply nearly every day since we launched additional joint actions with Mexico,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement after the rules were implemented.
Many of the Venezuelans were expecting to come into the United States and apply for asylum, but now they are stuck and said they are running out of money.
The decrease in migrants from Venezuela is coming shortly after the Biden administration announced that fiscal year 2022 was a record for immigrant encounters on the southern border. Border Patrol agents encountered more than 2.3 million immigrants. That’s a 37% increase compared to last year and more than five times the number of encounters from 2020.
Most of the crossings, 949,055, happened in South Texas, largely in the Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley sectors. But there was also a 170% increase in the Yuma sector in Arizona and a 58% increase in the El Paso sector. They both had over 300,000 crossings each.
As per demographics, the vast majority of the immigrants who entered, 1.5 million, were single adults, 482,000 came together as families, and 149,000 were unaccompanied children.
There was also a statistic that largely goes unnoticed. Border Patrol performed more than 22,000 search and rescues. Agents say crossing is dangerous whether it’s in the Rio Grande which can have strong currents, or in the hot desert in West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Straight Arrow News will be publishing a series of four stories from El Paso, Texas over the next week. The reporting will include the perspectives of immigrants, Border Patrol agents, local politicians and residents. The series will provide an account of what it is like living in a border community during migrant influxes.