EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Venezuelan families who came to the U.S. border to request asylum but are now facing Title 42 expulsions if they walk across the Rio Grande on Wednesday sent the Biden administration a message: “Help us.”
Several adults and families with children stood on the Mexican side of the river and held signs in the direction of U.S. border agents in El Paso with phrases like “S.O.S. Help” and “Humanitarian help.”
“Hopefully, we’ll be lucky. We are leaving things up to God,” said Martin, a citizen of Venezuela who stood with his wife and daughter by his side holding signs.
Venezuelan nationals who cross into the U.S. without authorization between ports of entry are now subject to expulsions per an Oct. 12 Department of Homeland Security directive.
The Biden administration, after letting in tens of thousands of Venezuelan asylum-seekers under a promise to appear in court, is now allowing up to 24,000 Venezuelans to apply for asylum remotely. The administration also reached an agreement with Mexico to expel up to 24,000 Venezuelans under the Trump-era Title 42 public health order.
The new policy disqualifies Venezuelans who have crossed the U.S. border without authorization or irregularly entered Panama or Mexico after October 12. Venezuelans who hold refugee status in another country or are legal permanent residents of a country other than Venezuela also are ineligible, according to the directive.
Latin American experts have told Border Report that nearly 7 million Venezuelans abandoned their country in the past decade due to a bad economy and political oppression against those deemed to oppose the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Border Report has interviewed Venezuelans who were released in El Paso who volunteered they had been residing in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and Brazil for the past few years.
“The U.S. has doubled down on the use of Title 42, expanding the program to include Venezuelan migrants. We condemn this expansion and will continue to do our part to welcome people on the move,” El Paso’s Hope Border Institute said on social media.
Hope’s Executive Director Dylan Corbett tweeted a photo of Venezuelan children holding signs along the riverbank telling the administration that they want to “Make our dreams a reality.”
“Title 42 and walls can’t be the answer. Compassion, solidarity and fraternity need to win out,” he said.