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United States’ Removal of Venezuelan Asylum Seekers to Colombia

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | Firm News

Stemming from economic instability, shortages of food and medicine, and violence as a result of struggles faced in Venezuela, many Venezuelan citizens have made the difficult decision to leave their country. Since the destabilization of Venezuela began, nearly six million people have left the country, with some taking flights to Mexico. Their final destination, however, is the United States. Typically, immigrants seeking asylum are provided the opportunity to apply for the I-589 form, otherwise known as the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. This would normally provide the opportunity for asylum seekers to apply and reside in the United States while they await their process, but recently, these people have been turned away at the border without any recourse.

Title 42, an emergency provision put into place under the Trump administration, has been used to turn away asylum seekers without allowing them the chance to apply for asylum. Instead of processing any sort of application, the Department of Homeland Security has taken the stance of removing Venezuelan immigrants to Colombia, a neighboring country of Venezuela where many had previously sought temporary refuge.

The original intent of Title 42 was to give border authorities the ability to prevent communicable diseases, specifically Covid-19, from spreading into the United States. It states specifically that United States Customs officers may turn away any individual at the border before they have the chance to apply for asylum. Additionally, it allows for the expulsion of the individuals to a country in which they have previously had any sort of residence. As a result, instead of being allowed the process normally granted to them, these people are often sent back to Colombia, as many fled there before flying to Mexico.

Opponents of Title 42 often cite that the process ignores the individual’s right to apply for asylum and protection provided to them under United States law. As of August 2021, a majority of asylum seekers apprehended at the border have been denied the ability to apply for asylum to the United States via Title 42, as well as all of those who attempted to do so at ports of entry. The current administration has unfortunately said that asylum seekers should return at a later time when they say the borders will be able to accommodate asylum applications, but when this will happen is still unknown.

While the use of Title 42 has resulted in millions of people being refused their right to seek asylum, other methods of acquiring permanent residence may be possible. If you or a loved one are seeking legal permanent residence in the United States, contact Rotella & Hernandez today at 305-596-3618 to schedule a consultation.