On October 12, 2022, the Biden Administration announced a program that would expand the use of Title 42 to expel Venezuelans seeking entry to the United States via the southern border into Mexico and create a humanitarian parole program for certain eligible asylum seekers. The program will be enacted through a joint effort with the Mexican government and is expected to impact thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution in Venezuela. The parole program is similar to the Uniting for Ukraine Program and will allow legal entry to up to 24,000 Venezuelans with U.S. sponsors and the ability to enter the country by plane.
Read our full response to the decision in a letter we sent to Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas along with over 100 other humanitarian organizations.
Who qualifies for Venezuelan Humanitarian Parole?
To be eligible for parole, Venezuelans must:
- Provide proof of U.S.-based sponsorship;
- Have a valid passport and arrive by air travel;
- Pass screening and vetting process; and
- Meet vaccination and other public health requirements.
Venezuelans can read more about eligibility criteria here.
The program also makes explicit who is ineligible for parole. Venezuelans are disqualified if they:
- Have been ordered removed from the U.S. in the past five years;
- Have attempted to cross the border after the parole program was announced;
- Have entered into Mexico or Panama after announcement of the parole program, have legal or dual status with another country, or refugee status in any country; or
- Do not meet vaccinations and other public health requirements.
How does the program expand Title 42?
The announcement states that effective immediately, Venezuelans who enter between ports of entry will be sent to Mexico. While Venezuelans previously could not be formally expelled under Title 42, the Biden Administration is now collaborating with the government of Mexico to ensure it will accept expelled Venezuelans.
Under the Trump and Biden administrations, Title 42 has been used more than 1.7 million times to block asylum seekers and expel migrants. This is a clear violation of U.S. and international law, which outline the legal right that asylum seekers have to seek asylum. Under the specious pretense of public health measure, which has been contested by leading public health experts (including the CDC), the rule has been used to politicize the COVID-19 pandemic and erode protections for asylum seekers. Tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers have been sent back to face persecutions in their countries of origin or forced to wait in dangerous encampments in Mexico until the U.S. border restores access to their legal right to seek asylum.
What effects will expanding Title 42 cause?
While the program offers lawful entry to Venezuelans who can afford a flight to the U.S., have a valid passport, and have U.S. beneficiaries willing to sponsor their stay, the expansion of Title 42 will have harrowing effects on migrant children and families. Venezuela is experiencing the worst refugee crisis in Latin America; the United Nations reports that more than 6.8 million Venezuelans are displaced. In addition, there are numerous reports of targeted abuse against migrants expelled from the U.S. to Mexico. Interviews with migrants in Mexico reveal stories of violent attacks, kidnappings, sexual assault by cartels, and corrupt Mexican authorities.
Creating a parole program while simultaneously expanding expulsions will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable migrants, lead to more dangerous routes, and increase vulnerability to human trafficking. The right to seek asylum is based on a well-founded fear of persecution—hinging access to asylum to nationality, social status, or means of entry is unacceptable. We must focus on rebuilding a truly fair, orderly, and humane asylum system that honors our country’s history of welcoming those seeking safety, including Venezuelans.
How can I support Venezuelans?
At LIRS, we are calling upon the administration to rebuild a truly fair, orderly, and humane asylum system that honors the God-given dignity of all people and welcomes those seeking safety. Join us by taking action and urging the White House to end mass expulsions and work to strengthen and expand legal pathways for those who are fleeing persecution!
Send a message to the Administration