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'We're all waiting for an opportunity to cross': Venezuelan migrants removed from US set up encampment along Mexican border in hopes of returning

Photo by Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Venezuelan migrants removed from the United States and returned to Mexico are now camping out at the border waiting for an opportunity to return, the El Paso Times reported.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced a deal with Mexico to return Venezuelan border-crossers. The expulsions began on October 12 and have since resulted in the removal of 1,800 migrants.

Now dozens of kicked-out migrants are gathering along the border in Juárez and building a massive encampment in hopes that they will have another opportunity to enter the United States.

Some of the migrants putting up tents along the border told the El Paso Times that they have not previously crossed into the U.S. but hope to soon.

"We're waiting for an answer," Gilfred Jimenez, a 21-year-old migrant, told the news outlet. "We're all waiting for an opportunity to cross. I have family, and they crossed and turned themselves in and were returned to Mexico over the bridge."

Jesús Alberto Gómez Meneses, a migrant who entered the U.S. through El Paso this month, told the news outlet that he was quickly sent back to Mexico.

"They returned not just me but the whole group of Venezuelans," Meneses said. "Whoever crosses at night, by the morning they'll be returned, all the Venezuelans."

According to Customs and Border Protection, 189,000 Venezuelan migrant encounters occurred in the 2022 fiscal year.

Migrants in Juárez are using broken furniture and blankets to build makeshift shelters, the New York Post reported. Some even made a banner that reads, "Joe Biden, Venezuela needs you."

The Mexican government issued migrants expelled from the United States a 180-day visa. Mexico's secretary for North American affairs, Arturo Rocha, recently met with U.N. personnel in Juárez and Border Patrol leadership in El Paso to assess the "implementation of the new humanitarian plan for Venezuelan people in Mexico."

According to aid workers, shelters in Juárez have become overcrowded. As a result, Juárez Mayor Cruz Pérez Cuellar stated that he opened an additional shelter in the city to accommodate the influx of new arrivals.

Cuellar said he is pressuring the Mexican government to provide the migrants with work authorization to fill job vacancies in the city.

"It is a problem and we are talking with federal authorities," Cueller told the El Paso Times on Wednesday. "Because there is a lot of work in Juárez. We have more jobs than we do workers."

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