Biden administration begins deporting Venezuelans to Colombia without the chance to seek asylum

Expulsions come under Covid powers first introduced in March 2020

Tom Fenton
Tuesday 01 February 2022 18:46 GMT
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The Biden administration has used a pandemic-related authority to begin expelling Venezuelan migrants to Colombia – without the chance to seek asylum after entering the US from the Mexican border.

The news was confirmed by both US and Colombian officials earlier this week, with the US Department of Homeland Security claiming that Venezuelans will be expelled “on a regular basis”. While the Biden administration didn't expand on how frequent such deportations will be, they will be limited to only those who have previously resided in Columbia.

Colombian officials confirmed that the first two Venezuelans were deported last Thursday after they had previously arrived in the US illegally from Mexico.

They add that there was no specific figure on how many Venezuelans would ultimately be sent to Colombia, although the two governments have agreed that the operation would be conducted “with the coordination” of both countries, who will be “following health and safety protocols.”

The move is a response to a rising number of Venezuelans seeking refuge in the United States, amid ongoing political turmoil in the South American nation.

According to the Associated Press, in December of last year, US authorities came across 25,000 Venezuelans trying to cross the Mexican border, which was double the amount that attempted the same perilous journey in September. They add that many Venezuelans typically arrive by plane in Mexicali, before attempting to cross the border into the US at nearby Yuma.

This eventually led to the introduction of visas for people entering Mexico from the South American country last month, in a bid to dissuade individuals from boarding flights to Mexicali. The inspiration for this move is the ever decreasing numbers of Ecuadorians that have tried to make a similar journey through Mexico – following the implementation of new visa requirements last year.


The deportation of Venezuelan citizens is just one example of how US immigration policy has dramatically changed over the past two years.

Since March 2020, the US has expelled migrants at the Mexican border without the opportunity to seek asylum under the “Title 42 Authority”, which involved invoking a public law in the name of curbing the spread of Covid-19.

However, there are now mounting concerns that the Biden administration could seek to keep the Title 42 Authority in place beyond its initial intended usage.

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