'Failing communist regimes' in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua account for new wave of migration, US says
- Nearly half of the people who crossed the US border in August came from three countries.
- "Failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba are driving a new wave of migration," a US official said.
Fifty migrants were flown from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, last week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Many of those who were recently enticed under what they said were false pretenses to participate in what has been criticized by Democrats and immigration advocates as a media stunt by DeSantis originally hailed from Venezuela, according to immigration attorneys, which is part of a trend in migration to the United States.
Nearly half of all migrants encountered at the southwest US border last month came from three countries with authoritarian governments that have been criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike, according to statistics released Monday by US Customers and Border Protection.
"Failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba are driving a new wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the recent increase in encounters at the southwest US border," CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.
More than 55,000 people from the three, ostensibly socialist regimes were encountered at the southwest border in August, per CBP. That compares to just under 57,000 people from Mexico and other nations in Central America, such as El Salvador and Honduras.
Overall, more than 203,000 people had encounters with border officials in the southwest last month, a 1.7% increase from July.
Many of those who crossed the border had previously attempted to do so but were expelled in the previous 12 months under Title 42, the Trump-era public health order that closed the border at the start of the pandemic. The Biden administration has attempted to overturn the emergency regulation but has been stymied by legal challenges from Texas and other Republican-led states.
"Totally unprecedented," Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, said in a post on Twitter responding to the news. The fact that nearly half of all migrants encountered were from Nicaragua and South America, he said, represented a "staggering change."
In recent years, Venezuelans have formed the largest group of people seeking asylum in the United States, a response to economic mismanagement and US sanctions against the country's anti-democratic government.
Nicaragua used to account for only a small number of migrants to the US, despite being the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But the country has grown increasingly repressive under President Daniel Ortega, who violently cracked down on mass anti-austerity protests in 2018, killing more than 300 people.
Under the Trump administration, the US and Nicaraguan governments signed an agreement to expedite the deportation of Nicaraguan nationals. According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that agreement remains in place, despite US sanctions following the country's sham 2021 election.
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