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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Is USA interested in helping Venezuelans?


Although in the United States they have promised millions of dollars to help Venezuelans flee their country and encouraged allies in the region to "do more" on the hunger and oppression suffered by the Venezuelan people, the government of President Donald Trump has been deporting Venezuelans who came to the United States illegally or stayed after expiring their visa for fear of returning to the country.

"Many Venezuelans here do not have permanent residency, they are not US citizens, they do not have a visa, but they are afraid to return to Venezuela," said Adriana Kostencki, a lawyer with the Venezuelan-American Bar Association in Miami, which lobbies the government in Washington to protect Venezuelans from deportation. "But we’re fighting against a government that has not been very friendly with immigration."

Vice President Pence delivered a passionate speech in Lima to more than 30 heads of state at the Summit of the Americas a few days ago, where he promised to deliver an additional $ 16 million to other countries to help Venezuelans who have fled the economic crisis, and he pressed allies to follow the example of the United States in isolating the government of President Nicolás Maduro. During a meeting with leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, Pence spoke of the lack of food and basic supplies in the main hospitals.

He said that many Americans do not understand the problems that have led millions of Venezuelans to flee from "the oppression of the dictatorship" that has created the largest displacement of people in the history of Latin America. "We are with the people of Venezuela and we will continue to do everything in our power to offer support to those who have fled the tyranny," Pence told the group. Nevertheless, the amount of Venezuelans deported continues to grow.

The federal government reported that approximately a third of the ones deported are convicted criminals who committed a wide range of crimes, from traffic cases to kidnapping and sexual assault. The government did not answer questions about the deportations but said it is internally discussing ways to help Venezuelans arriving at the border, including the possibility of offering them asylum. More Venezuelans are seeking asylum in the United States than citizens of any other country. The Citizenship and Immigration Service reports that more than 27,600 Venezuelans applied for asylum in the fiscal year 2017, an increase of almost 400 percent compared to the previous two years.

However, in the case of Venezuelans, asylum has been difficult to achieve. A senior federal government official said that asylum cases have no limitations per country, and each request is evaluated by its own methods, which considers the specific circumstances of the person and the applicable laws and policies. But John Pratt, a South Florida immigration lawyer representing Venezuelans in asylum cases, said that most applications are being rejected.

According to El Nuevo Herald, the federal government has also accelerated the asylum application process for the most recent cases, which hinders the possibilities for those who cannot work while the application is being processed. Venezuelans are particularly affected, considering the large number of recent requests and the challenges for them to approve."What we are trying to do is ensure that asylum seekers meet the requirements to stay and obtain work permits while their application is being processed, and are not trying to bypass the process," the senior government official said.