A few minutes after Washington closed its southern border to Venezuelans, Jose was reunited with his wife and four-year-old child in the United States. But his joy didn’t last long. If his adult son, who is presently slogging through the dangerous Darien Gap jungle that divides Colombia and Panama, even makes it that far, he will probably be turned away from the United States.
In a telephone interview with AFP on Thursday, he said, “Last night, I was happier than a child at Christmas.” But as soon as I heard the news, I called my son and told him not to go any farther. Because of their vulnerability or the potential for retaliation from human traffickers, AFP changed the names of the migrants who were interviewed for this story.
According to a statement made on Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security, nearly all other migrants crossing the border without visas will also be sent back to Mexico. This includes Venezuelans who enter the US by land. Due to Washington’s mistrust of the hard-left dictatorship in Caracas, which it claims punishes political opponents, they have up till now been given exceptions.
Instead, under a humanitarian program comparable to one that has accepted tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their nation, the United States will permit 24,000 Venezuelans to petition for immigration. In an effort to strike a balance between Republican requests to stop what they portray as a “illegal migratory wave” and Democratic demands for aiding needy migrants, President Joe Biden’s administration introduced the initiative one month before the elections.
More than 155,000 Venezuelans crossed the border in the year up to September, more than quadruple the amount in the year before.
Like Jose, the majority travel to Texas. On Sunday, he crossed the Rio Grande river near Eagle Pass by wading through chest-deep water before setting foot on US land. He stood in the sweltering Texas sun, his clothes wet, his shoes dirty, and he stated, “It was nothing compared to what I had to do to get here. The few items of clothing he still possessed were in his backpack. “I left the others on the highway,”
Millions of Venezuelans have emigrated abroad in recent years as a result of the autocratic President Nicolas Maduro’s political and economic turmoil.
Despite the distance and the danger, more people are making their way to the United States than to nearby Latin American nations. Videos on the social media platform TikTok, which is a major news source for Venezuelans, depict columns of people walking through thick foliage while carrying bags. Among those who succeed, rape, robbery, murder, and bribery stories are frequently told.
Jose traveled across seven nations in a month. He believed that things were finally coming together after reuniting with his wife and little child, and his 22-year-old son had left for Venezuela to join him.
After that, the US government modified the laws. He and I were finally going to be together, therefore we are both quite sorry about this. “If he puts in such a lot of work and they send him back to Mexico, where the people are extremely good but the immigration authorities and the police treat us very badly,” the woman said. The hardest part of the journey, according to Jose, was his time in Mexico. To distinguish between those who pay and those who don’t, people in the bush place bracelets on their wrists. People who don’t pay are punished unfairly.
“In Mexico, a coyote will tell you that something costs $500, but if you tell him, “I have $200,” he will accept it.
However, a Mexican police officer will threaten to beat or rob you if you don’t hand him $500. On Wednesday, Maria—who came in Eagle Pass on Sunday as well—met her lover in Georgia. “The Mexican agents seized my buddies and thrashed them, but I was unlucky. They held them for two weeks before releasing them at a different location. They won’t be able to enter the US anymore “she claims.
The fact that Maria arrived in the country makes her lover ecstatic since he anticipates she will be able to receive treatment for a long-term condition there. He worries about his three sisters, who are someplace far inside the Darien Gap, and what will happen to them now. He remarked, “I just sit here and think. I’m glad Maria is here at last, but I don’t know what I’m going to do.”