EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A record number of Venezuelan nationals is petitioning for refugee status in Mexico, the head of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance says.
The agency received an average of 148 refugee petitions from Venezuela during the first week of November, compared with only 14 per day in mid-October, according to Andres Ramirez Silva, general coordinator of COMAR, as the agency is known in Mexico.
The 1,000 percent increase in applications coincides with an Oct. 12 announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security making Venezuelans amenable to Title 42 expulsions at the border. Since then, the number of Venezuelans attempting to cross both the U.S. border and the Mexico-Guatemala border has plummeted.
“The flow of Venezuelan migrants – coming from the south or expelled (from the U.S.) under Title 42, are down, but the flow (at COMAR) has not,” Ramirez tweeted.
He said most Venezuelan refugee petitions are coming from individuals who were expelled from the U.S. but aren’t going back home for now and from those who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border after mid-October. The bulk of the petitions (79.54 percent) are being filed in Mexico City, Ramirez said, adding the agency will be monitoring developments regarding a possible end to the Title 42 policy in the U.S.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has given the Biden administration until December 21 to do away with Title 42. In Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, a few hundred Venezuelans remain in a tent camp along the Rio Grande. Several of the migrants have told Border Report they are waiting out the end of the Title 42 policy.