Migration from Venezuela to other countries in the region, and the United States, is on the rise as the economic and political crisis in the oil-rich country worsens, according to authorities and experts.
The exodus is being felt in countries such as Ecuador, Brazil, Peru and the United States, where Venezuelans are now the second-largest group of Latin American immigrants after Mexicans.
In the United States, the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum has spiked from fewer than 1,000 in 2014 to more than 28,000 in 2018, according to the US State Department.
The crisis in Venezuela has its roots in the late president Hugo Chavez’s socialist policies, which led to a steep decline in oil production and a subsequent collapse in the value of the bolivar, Venezuela’s currency.
The resulting shortages of food and medicine have driven millions of Venezuelans from their homes.
Many are seeking refuge in other countries in the region, while others are risking their lives to cross the border into Colombia in search of food and medical care.
The United States has responded to the growing influx of Venezuelans by granting temporary protected status (TPS) to more than 57,000 of them, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
TPS is a humanitarian program that allows immigrants from countries affected by war or natural disasters to stay in the United States for a temporary period.
But the future of TPS for Venezuelans is uncertain. The Trump administration has announced that it will end the program for Venezuelans in January 2020.
This week, the US administration said it would also end TPS for about 5,000 Nicaraguans, a decision that could force thousands of them to return to a country that is also grappling with a political and economic crisis.
critics say the Trump administration is seeking to reduce legal immigration to the United States.
However, the administration has said that the decisions to end TPS for Nicaraguans and Venezuelans were based on the conditions in those countries, not on the president’s anti-immigrant policies.
migration and Venezuelan migration
Since the early 2000s, Venezuela has been experiencing political and economic instability which has led to millions of Venezuelans fleeing their country. The majority of Venezuelan migrants have fled to other Latin American countries, but there has been an increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants seeking asylum in Europe and the United States.
The number of Venezuelan migrant arrivals in other countries has steadily increased in recent years. In the first three months of 2019, there were more than 283,000 Venezuelan migrants living in other countries, which is a 41 percent increase from the same period in 2018. The majority of Venezuelan migrants have fled to other Latin American countries, but there has been an increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants seeking asylum in Europe and the United States.
The number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United States has more than quadrupled in the past two years. From 2016 to 2018, the number of Venezuelan asylum seekers in the United States increased from 5,000 to 22,000. The majority of Venezuelan asylum seekers in the United States are Cuban or Colombian nationals who have lived in Venezuela for many years.
European countries have also seen a significant increase in the number of Venezuelan asylum seekers. In 2018, the number of Venezuelan asylum seekers in Spain tripled and the number of Venezuelan asylum seekers in France doubled.
As Venezuelan migration continues to increase, it is having a visible impact across the United States. This migration is not only taxing resources in terms of humanitarian aid, but is also raising concerns about potential security implications. In order to address these growing concerns, the United States and other countries in the region must work together to develop a coordinated response to the Venezuelan refugee crisis.