Listen to 97.3 KIRO Newsradio: NOW! Seahawks vs. Raiders gameday coverage

U.S.-bound migration from Venezuela plunges under new policy

Oct 21, 2022, 2:04 AM | Updated: 7:44 pm
Venezuelan migrants arrive on the Mexican side of the border after rafting across the Suchiate rive...

Venezuelan migrants arrive on the Mexican side of the border after rafting across the Suchiate river, the border between Guatemala and Mexico, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. The Biden administration has agreed to accept up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants at U.S. airports, while Mexico has agreed to take back Venezuelans who come to the U.S. illegally over land. Effective immediately, those who walk or swim across the border will be immediately returned to Mexico under a pandemic rule known as Title 42 authority, which suspends rights to seek asylum under U.S. and international law on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Border crossings by Venezuelans fleeing to the United States from their South American country plummeted in the first week of a U.S. policy to expel them to Mexico without an opportunity to seek asylum, U.S. and Mexican officials said Friday.

Biden administration officials said about 150 Venezuelans were crossing the border from Mexico daily, down from about 1,200 before the policy was announced Oct. 12.

Arturo Rocha, a top official in Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department, said separately that Venezuelans entering the U.S. fell 90%, roughly in line with the U.S. government’s numbers. He said the number of Venezuelans crossing the dangerous Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama on the most popular route to the United States dropped 80%.

The Panamanian government reported Friday that 435 Venezuelan migrants had flown back to their homeland from Panama since the U.S. announced the new rules. It said 200 more Venezuelans were expected to return Saturday on charter flights arranged by the Venezuelan consulate.

Biden administration officials said Venezuelans were generally being expelled under a public health rule known as Title 42, which suspends rights to seek asylum under U.S. and international law on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. The White House expanded the policy to expel Venezuelans to Mexico despite an effort earlier this year to end Title 42, which has stayed in effect under a court order.

Under the new rules, the U.S. says it will accept up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants at U.S. airports if they first apply online with a financial sponsor. They would be admitted on humanitarian parole in an effort similar to how tens of thousands of Ukrainians have entered the United States since Russia’s invasion.

Rocha wrote in a newspaper column that the U.S. has received about 7,500 Venezuelan applications for parole. U.S. officials declined to confirm that number in a conference call with reporters but said there was significant interest and flights would begin soon.

While barely a week old, the crackdown on Venezuelans had immediate impact on what had become a serious challenge for the Biden administration. Venezuelans were the second-largest nationality to cross the border illegally from Mexico in August, with another sharp increase in September to more than 33,000.

Many Venezuelans who were headed to the U.S. when the new rules were announced are now in Mexico and are unsure what to do next.

Mexican officials discussed early results of the effort at joint exercises with Guatemala on controlling migration.

Even as that official event unfolded, migrants continued to cross the Suchiate River between the two countries on inner-tube rafts, but most quickly turned themselves in to Mexican agents.

Up to now, Mexico gave Venezuelans and other migrants short-term transit passes that allowed them to reach a town farther inside Mexico, San Pedro Tapanatepec, where they could wait for more formal visas.

Thousands of migrants had gathered in San Pedro Tapanatepec awaiting those papers, which many previously used to continue on to the U.S. border.

But on Friday, Héctor Martínez Castuera, the director of coordination for Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, said visas would no longer be handed out in San Pedro Tapanatepec. Instead, Mexican authorities set up a migrant shelter to handle all those waiting there.

“We have installed a shelter there, a big shelter to handle the migrants, but right now we are not giving out any immigration forms,” he said.

Martínez Castuera said migrants could try to get papers to remain in Mexico or return to Venezuela. He said that Mexico may help some return, as “many Venezuelans” want, but that the issue was complicated.

Spagat reported from San Diego.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. walks on the sideline during a NFL division...
Associated Press

NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. taken off plane in Miami

MIAMI (AP) — NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was removed by police from an aircraft before takeoff at Miami International Airport after officials said he failed to respond to requests to buckle his seatbelt and appeared to be unconscious, police and airline officials said Sunday. “Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill, and that […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Landslide kills at least 14 at funeral in Cameroon’s capital

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — A landslide during a funeral ceremony in Cameroon’s capital on Sunday has left at least 14 people dead, the regional governor said. Dozens of others were missing as rescue crews dug through the rubble with flashlights. Centre Regional Gov. Naseri Paul Bea told the Cameroonian national broadcaster CRTV that the search […]
2 days ago
Supporters of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador march in Mexico City, Sunday, Nov. 27, ...
Associated Press

Mexico’s López Obrador leads massive pro-government march

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Mexico’s capital Sunday in a show of support for President Manuel López Obrador, who before assuming the presidency had led some of the country’s biggest protests. The “people’s march” marked four years in office for the leftist leader and was a response to a […]
2 days ago
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James in Centur...
Associated Press

Colorado shooting victim ‘wanted to save the family I found’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A member of the U.S. Navy who was injured while helping prevent further harm during a shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado last weekend said Sunday that he “simply wanted to save the family that I found.” Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James made his first public comments on […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

NY sergeant hailed for aiding at 2017 birth helps at another

SHIRLEY, N.Y. (AP) — A group of police officers who helped deliver a baby at a Long Island home over the weekend included a sergeant who helped another newborn take his first breath five years ago. This time, Suffolk County Sgt. Jon-Erik Negron joined officers Conor Diemer, Jadin Rodriguez and Zachary Vormittag after a woman […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Al-Shabab extremist group attacks hotel in Somali capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility Sunday for an unfolding armed attack on a hotel in the Somali capital. Al-Shabab said in a broadcast on its own radio frequency Sunday that said its fighters attacked the hotel Villa Rose, which has a restaurant popular with government and security officials. Abdi Hassan, […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
U.S.-bound migration from Venezuela plunges under new policy