The Biden administration announced a policy for would-be migrants from Venezuela that would see illegal migrants deported to Mexico, a Trump-era move that the White House initially sought to reverse.

“Effective immediately, Venezuelans who enter the United States between ports of entry, without authorization, will be returned to Mexico,” the Department of Homeland Security announced in a press release. “At the same time, the United States and Mexico are reinforcing their coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice. That campaign will include new migration checkpoints, additional resources and personnel, joint targeting of human smuggling organizations, and expanded information sharing related to transit nodes, hotels, stash houses, and staging locations.”

Simultaneously, the administration announced a separate plan for Venezuelan migrants to obtain legal entry into the country, though it capped the prospective entrants at 24,000.

“These actions make clear that there is a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and lawful entry is the only way,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “Those who attempt to cross the southern border of the United States illegally will be returned to Mexico and will be ineligible for this process in the future. Those who follow the lawful process will have the opportunity to travel safely to the United States and become eligible to work here.”

The new program somewhat resembles the Uniting for Ukraine refugee program in that prospective entrants must have a “supporter in the United States who will provide financial and other support.” They are further subject to biometric and background checks.

DHS explicitly states that “Venezuelans should not travel to Mexico to pursue entry into the United States.” Instead, they assure that individuals approved for entry into the United States under this program will do so via an interior port of entry, meaning they will likely arrive via air travel.

The agency sought to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that required asylum seekers to stay there while awaiting their asylum hearing. It further allowed border authorities to deport said migrants to the country and ensure they abided by the asylum process. Mayorkas had sought to end this program.

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