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Inaugural flight under Biden’s immigration policy arrives in Venezuela, marking first U.S. deportation.

First U.S. Deportation Flight to Venezuela Under New Biden Administration Initiative

Deportation Flight Lands in Caracas

The first U.S. deportation flight to Venezuela under a new initiative by the Biden administration has landed in Caracas. This marks a tougher approach to border enforcement as the U.S. grapples with record illegal crossings. Venezuelan men and women were dropped off in shackles at an airport in Harlingen, Texas. They were then patted down and ushered onto a charter plane. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), approximately 130 Venezuelans were deported.

Record Numbers of Migrants

The Biden administration has been dealing with a surge in migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. This increase can be attributed to the economic and political instability in Venezuela, which has been exacerbated by U.S. sanctions. Since President Biden took office in 2021, over 380,000 Venezuelans have been caught crossing the border illegally. This is a significant rise from 2,200 in fiscal year 2019 and 1,200 in 2020.

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Deportation Relief and Work Permits

Before the deportation flight, the Biden administration had granted deportation relief and work permits to nearly half a million Venezuelans who arrived in the United States on or before July 31. This was due to Venezuela’s increased instability and lack of safety. However, direct deportations to Venezuela had been stalled for years due to diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Call for Legal Pathways

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens emphasized the importance of using legal pathways to enter the U.S. or scheduling an appointment to approach a legal border crossing. He urged migrants to “do it the right way.” Corey Price, a senior ICE official, stated that the agency plans to send several deportation flights to Venezuela per week.

Election Guarantees and Sanctions Relief

In recent news, Venezuela’s government and political opposition agreed to electoral guarantees for the 2024 presidential elections. In response, the Biden administration plans to provide some sanctions relief for Venezuela’s oil and gas sector. This development comes as a potential step towards improving relations between the two countries.

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Concerns and Criticism

However, the decision to ramp up deportations to Venezuela has faced criticism from immigration advocates. Jennifer Piper, a program director with the American Friends Service Committee, called it “deeply cruel and deadly.” She urged the Biden administration to immediately end deportations to dangerous locations.

It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will continue to address the complex issue of illegal crossings and the situation in Venezuela. As the U.S. strives to find a balance between border enforcement and humanitarian concerns, the impact of these deportation flights will be closely monitored.

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