Biden Administration Pairs Humanitarian Aid and H-2B Visa Expansion with Trump-Style Border Enforcement in Venezuelan Response Plan

Biden Administration Pairs Humanitarian Aid and H-2B Visa Expansion with Trump-Style Border Enforcement in Venezuelan Response Plan

October 13, 2022
Last modified: 
October 24, 2022

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council responded to the announcement from the Biden Administration of two major initiatives to address the continued arrival of large numbers of vulnerable Venezuelan nationals: a parole program to protect up to 24,000 individuals with ties to the United States coupled with highly restrictive border enforcement to expel Venezuelans who cross the border without prior authorization back to Mexico. Additionally, an expansion of the H-2B temporary worker visa program was announced, adding nearly 65,000 visas with 20,000 set aside for nationals from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

AILA President Jeremy McKinney stated,

“The Uniting For Ukraine (UFU) model was a breakthrough moment by the government. In recognition of the dire circumstances in Venezuela, the Biden administration is smartly applying those humanitarian tools to create an expedited legal pathway for that country’s nationals to find safety with American sponsors. At the same time, AILA calls upon the United States to do more. Far smaller countries have aided more Venezuelans in flight – such as Colombia, host to over 2 million. We hope this initiative will be just as successful as UFU and urge the Department of Homeland Security to increase this parole program to aid more than 24,000 Venezuelans. AILA also urges the U.S. government to use these tools for those fleeing other failing states like Haiti, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Central American countries whose plight is no less grave.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added,

“While we welcome the administration’s use of legal channels of immigration to address the urgent humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, AILA is deeply disturbed by President Biden’s decision to add new vigor to the inhumane Title 42 border expulsion policy his predecessor falsely justified as a COVID health protection. Expelling Venezuelans to Mexico will not improve border management— this administration knows all too well that asylum seekers cannot go back to Venezuela and will have no choice but to try and return to the United States if they are expelled under Title 42. Asylum seekers need coordinated support of all the nations in the Western Hemisphere to ensure no one fleeing violence and persecution is put back in harm’s way. The President understands this, and we implore him to work with other countries in the region while bolstering the United States’ humanitarian assistance.”

Managing Director of Programs for the American Immigration Council Jorge Loweree said,

“This announcement is a welcome change, but it will need to be expanded significantly to have a meaningful impact. Unfortunately, the administration’s plan to expand Title 42 expulsions to include Venezuelans will affect a far greater number of people, preventing them from exercising their legal right to seek asylum in the U.S. Title 42 has no basis in law or science and must end. Period.”

Media Contact

Brianna Dimas, Director of Strategic Communications
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