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Illegal immigration on the rise from Venezuela

Today, House Democrats are voting on H.R. 549 – the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. This bill will extend Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan nationals and shield them from deportation. It could not come at a worse time and is akin to dousing a growing fire with lighter fluid.

Illegal immigration has surged over the past year, primarily from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. But in recent months, there has been a rise in migration from many other countries both in our hemisphere and from the Eastern Hemisphere. One of the latest trends that should sound alarms throughout the Trump administration is the weekly increase in numbers from Venezuela.

While the DHS does not provide monthly data of border apprehensions for countries other than Mexico and Central America’s northern triangle, CR has obtained weekly data from Texas’ Department of Public Safety used internally by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The numbers show that apprehensions just in Texas of Venezuelan nationals have increased from a trickle every week for the past few months, culminating with a spike of almost double the previous week in last week’s report.

According to the data, which was given to CR by a Border Patrol agent who must remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the press, 189 Venezuelans were caught at the Texas border July 10-July 17, compared to 99 the previous week. The week before that, 47 Venezuelans were apprehended. That is roughly the level of weekly Venezuelan apprehensions throughout June. In May, it hovered around 20, and before that it was 0-5 per week.

This is a very disturbing trend, according to Joseph Humire, expert on Venezuelan affairs.

"Since the mass exodus from Venezuela began in 2014, there are more than 4 million Venezuelans living abroad,” warned Humire, who heads the Center for a Secure Free Society. “A recent Organization of American States (OAS) report warned that by the end of 2020 the number of Venezuelan refugees/migrants can more than double and as many as 8.2 million Venezuelans could have left the country. This would make Venezuela the largest refugee crisis in the world, overtaking Syria.”

Humire notes that while “until now, most of those that fled Venezuela by foot traveled through South America, going as far south as Argentina, it appears that now they are heading north.”

In other words, if this isn’t stopped in its infancy, we could be facing something much larger than even the Central American migration over the next few years. “If the current projections stay the same, and the migrants from Venezuela moving from South to Central America connect with the tens of thousands of undocumented migrants from Central America to the U.S. southwest border, we could see our illegal immigration problem on our border literally triple overnight,” warns Humire.

Humire further warns that Venezuelan migration poses an entirely new national security threat, given that its dictator, Nicolas Maduro, is a client of Iran and Iran is locked in a tense conflict with America.

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