El Paso, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say encounters with Venezuelan migrants have dropped by 80 percent in a week since they began joint action with Mexico to reduce illegal immigration.
The change comes after a sudden turnaround from the Biden administration to deny Venezuelans trying to enter the United States illegally the chance to apply for asylum.
Since then, Venezuelan migrants have continued to camp along the Juárez border, waiting for an opportunity.
The Juárez community is now concerned about an increase in immigration since the policy shift.
Migrants who camp can now ask for a six-month permit to work in Mexico. The problem is, not all of them are interested in getting it.
ABC-7 spoke with a Venezuelan immigrant who is currently trying to obtain a work permit for 4 or more days. He says the Mexican Immigration Service issues his 50 permits per day.
Migrants face long lines and waiting times to get it. They also know that getting a job is a way to survive, but they say it’s not a fair wage in Mexico.
Officials in Chihuahua said Tuesday afternoon they were committed to speeding up the work permit process. They want immigrants to get permits and start working.
As for Tuesday, about 44 immigrants are currently approved to work in Mexico.
A sharp increase in Venezuelan immigrant encounters began in August in the El Paso sector, according to CBP statistics for fiscal year 2022. Encounters jumped from 611 in July to 3,539 in August. The number of encounters in September he rose to 20,169.
A decrease in encounters is not reflected in the current CBP numbers. They will be released next month.