Venezuelans overtake Mexicans in illegal migration to the US
According to the latest monthly report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, released Saturday, 218,763 encounters with people of all nationalities were recorded at ports of entry along the southwest border in September 2023. That number represents a 21 percent increase over August’s 181,084 illegal immigrant encounters.
Venezuelans were the most represented nationality in September, having been apprehended a total of 54,833 times after entering from Mexico. This represents a more than doubling of the 22,090 apprehensions recorded in August and significantly exceeds the previous monthly high of 33,749 apprehensions in September 2022.
Historically, Mexicans have been the primary actors in illegal migration at the U.S. Southwest border, but the situation has changed in the past decade and now Central Americans and, more recently, persons from South America, Africa and Asia are the top drivers.
Mexicans were apprehended 39,733 times crossing the border in September, significantly fewer than the number of apprehensions of Venezuelans. Other nationalities appearing in the top five include Guatemalans, Hondurans and Colombians.
The Biden administration recently adopted a policy of granting temporary legal status to nearly 500,000 Venezuelans who were in the United States as of July 31, 2023. At the same time, however, it promised to deport those who arrive illegally after that date and do not apply for asylum.
The United States recently began deportation flights to Venezuela as part of a diplomatic thaw in relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro, a longtime U.S. adversary. In addition, it has bolstered its resources and personnel at the border, according to Troy Miller, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
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