There’s been a record number of migrants making their way to the U.S. in the last months. In fact, over 150,000 migrants were reported crossing through the Darién Gap this year – most of them Venezuelan asylum seekers.
However, on October 12, President Joe Biden announced he would turn back Venezuelan migrants who cross the border. Under Title 42, the administration will deny the opportunity to ask for asylum should they unlawfully cross through land or water. It’s important to note that this is the same title Biden criticized Trump for as he campaigned. The migrants are being sent back to Mexico.
1,606 migrants per day walked through Panama's until-recently impassable Darién Gap jungles in September. An absolutely unthinkable number.
1,280 were citizens of #Venezuela.
Source: https://t.co/X3wIs0E275 pic.twitter.com/T0iu23kVwi
— Adam Isacson (@adam_wola) October 10, 2022
Those who are seeking asylum are now being asked to apply for the program outside of the country, come in by airplane, and have a financial U.S. sponsor. These are the only Venezuelan migrants with a chance to be admitted into the States. There’s a total of 24,000 slots open.
The change of heart
There’s speculation that this is being enforced due to the social media content that’s been circulating; detailing the horrific conditions of those taking on the aforementioned Darién Gap. It’s described as “one of the most dangerous journeys on the planet for experienced survivalists.”
You see images like these on a daily basis in Necoclí, Colombia. Thousands of migrants getting ready to cross the Darien Gap looking forward to arrive to the US. Tough times pic.twitter.com/pd1VCRIotN
— Juan Camilo Merlano (@JuanCMerlano) October 11, 2022
There are a lot of emotions regarding this considering the Darién Gap has been active for decades. Some have taken to Twitter to express their emotions.
Making some humanitarian visas available is good, but they aren't enough and not enough notice was given of the new entry rules.
Thousands of people are crossing through the Darien Gap as I write this post. They don't have the resources to turn back.
Borders are violence. pic.twitter.com/ijfMTYlnvb
— joni elena (@joni_elena) October 13, 2022
It’s not just about the Maduro regime or the horrors of the Darien Gap. Venezuelans are facing challenges at every point in their migration journey. This requires regional collaboration to ensure Venezuelans can access safety and opportunity throughout the Western Hemisphere
— Rachel Schmidtke (@r_schmidtke) October 10, 2022
Why are Venezuelans risking their lives?
For many, it’s not only the most affordable way, but also the only way to escape their country’s dictatorship and poor living conditions. BBC explains that: “The South American country has been caught in a downward spiral for years with growing political discontent further fuelled by skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of food and medicine.”
The Darién Gap has been in use for many decades by other people; Haitians, Colombians, and Panamanians, among others.
However, it should be noted that no human should ever have to go through these extremes to better their life. Our thoughts are with these souls that have to risk it all in order for a promising future.