Social Issues

Venezuelans head north from Mexico despite US warnings

Tapachula, Mexico, Oct 14 (EFE).- More than 1,000 Venezuelan migrants set out Friday from this city near the frontier with Guatemala hoping to reach the United States despite Washington’s announcement that people from Venezuela who enter the US by land across the southern border will be deported back to Mexico.

One of those in the caravan that left Tapachula a few hours after midnight Thursday, Gabriela Perez, told EFE that she and her fellow Venezuelan migrants find themselves in a “difficult and critical” situation.

“We expect to join up with more groups of around 1,000 or 500 who are going farther and we are going to walk as far as necessary,” she said.

The US and Mexican governments announced Wednesday that they agreed on a plan that will see Washington extend conditional humanitarian permits to 24,000 Venezuelans who arrive by air, while those who enter over land from Mexico will be sent back to the Aztec nation.

Pursuant to that accord, Mexico’s INM immigration agency has already beefed up deployments at checkpoints on routes leading north from the Guatemalan border.

“They sent us to Mexico, later to Venezuela, and who wants to come back after suffering so much? That’s why we’re walking to reach our destination. We won’t go back for anything, only forward,” migrant Jordi Moises Taborda told EFE.

The members of the caravan appealed to the US for a 15-day grace period to accommodate Venezuelans already in transit in Mexico.

Otoniel Ferrer, 20, saw his plans upset by the sudden change in policy.

“When I left Venezuela, the doors of the United States were open to Venezuelans, but now we have a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “We enter Mexico and collide with the National Migration Institute, who don’t let us advance.”

Another contingent of Venezuelans remained behind in Tapachula to consult with groups of migrants from Central America on their next move.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) registered a record of more than 1.7 million illegal border crossings in the 2021 fiscal year.

Since the 2022 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2021, the CBP says that more than 2.15 million migrants have been intercepted along the US’s southern border.

In August, according to the CBP, the number of migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela apprehended on the border was more than 55,000, an increase of 175 percent over the same month last year. EFE

jmb/dr

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