Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second largest nationality after Mexicans among migrants illegally crossing the border into the US. US authorities stopped Venezuelans 25,349 times in August, up 43% from 17,652 in July and four times the 6,301 times stopped in August 2021.
At the same time, it was the third month in a row that there were fewer immigrants from Mexico and the countries of the Northern Triangle in Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Those nationalities have dominated the mix for decades.
In total, US authorities stopped migrants 203,598 times in August, up 1.8% from 199,976 in July, but down 4.7% from 213,593 in August 2021.
Authorities stopped migrants 2.15 million times from October to August, the first time that measure exceeded 2 million during the government’s fiscal year that began October 1. It was a 39% increase from 1.54 million stops in the same period a year earlier.
Border crossings have been fueled in part by repeated border crossings, as there are no legal consequences if you are deported under a pandemic rule that denies the right to apply for asylum. Yet the numbers are extraordinarily high.
Migration from Cuba and Nicaragua remained high, according to US Customs and Border Protection data. Cubans were detained 19,057 in August, down from 20,096 in July, but up from 4,496 in August 2021. Nicaraguans were detained 11,742, down from 12,075 in July, but up from 9,979 in August 2021.
It is the latest sign of rapidly changing migratory flows as US authorities grapple with unusually large inflows overall.
While no reason can be identified, it is extremely challenging for the US to expel migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba under the pandemic rule known as Title 42, which US officials invoke to deny people the chance to seek asylum. on the grounds of preventing the spread of Covid-19. U.S. relations with all three countries are tense, making it difficult to send them home.
Failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are fueling another wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the recent surge in encounters on the US southwestern border. Chris MagnusCommissioner of the Dutch DPA, which oversees the border police.
Mexico accepts migrants expelled under Title 42 if they come from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, in addition to Mexico. While the pandemic rule theoretically applies to all nationalities, people from those four countries are most affected.
The Biden administration is leaning on other countries in America to accommodate more people fleeing their homes.
About 6.8 million Venezuelans have left their homeland since an economic crisis erupted in 2014 in the country of 28 million inhabitants. Most have gone to nearby countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including more than 2.4 million in neighboring Colombia.
Venezuelan migration to the US plummeted early this year after Mexico introduced restrictions on air travel, but has increased in recent months as more come overland through Panama’s notoriously dangerous Darien Gap.
Nearly 7 of every 10 stops by Venezuelans crossing illegally in August were in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio, Texas, sector, making it the busiest of the agency’s nine sectors on the Mexican border. Migrants were stopped more than 52,000 times in the Del Rio sector, many of them around the town of Eagle Pass, with El Paso, Texas, a distant second with about 29,000 stops.
The trend of more Venezuelans is reflected in the daily headlines. About 50 migrants who Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who flew to the posh Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard were all Venezuelan, as were five of the six people who drowned in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass in early September. The sixth came from Nicaragua.
Title 42 encourages repeat attempts because there are no legal consequences for being caught. In August, 157,921 migrants crossed at least once, with 55,333 from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua and 56,979 from Mexico or the countries of the Northern Triangle.