Posted on October 13, 2022

Biden Considers Creating Immigration Program for Venezuelans

Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2022

The Biden administration is considering creating a new immigration program for Venezuelans that would allow them to enter the country legally provided they have a U.S.-based financial sponsor, according to a government official familiar with the deliberations, a move designed to discourage Venezuelans from crossing into the U.S. illegally.

More than 150,000 Venezuelans have crossed the border illegally in the first 11 months of the government’s fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, compared with about 48,000 the entire year before, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

If enacted, the program would be modeled after Uniting for Ukraine, created in the wake of the war, that has allowed some 67,000 Ukrainians to move to the U.S. through a status known as humanitarian parole, which allows them to live and work here for two years. Any Ukrainians looking to come must find a U.S. sponsor willing to support their applications, and processing of their requests has been taking as little as a couple of weeks.


For the past year, the administration has been struggling to find solutions for a growing trend of Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans attempting to reach America via the Southern border. {snip}

Roughly three times as many migrants from the three countries crossed the U.S. border illegally in the government’s 2022 fiscal year, compared with the year before {snip}

The administration initially considered a broader program that would have provided safe passage to Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans as well as Venezuelans, according to people familiar with the situation, but ultimately pared the concept back.

Administration officials are particularly concerned about Venezuelans, who make up a large proportion of asylum-seeking migrants accepting bus rides paid for by Texas and Arizona to New York City {snip}


Allowing Venezuelans to enter the country under humanitarian parole would make them immediately eligible for work permits and allow them to apply for asylum through a friendlier process that doesn’t involve going to immigration court.