Mexico evaluates toughening entry rules for Venezuelans at the request of the US

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Currently, Venezuelans do not need a visa to enter Mexico as tourists, but the López Obrador government evaluates conditioning their entry to certain criteria,

Mexico is studying the possibility of setting stricter entry requirements for Venezuelans, in part in response to requests from the United States, following a sharp increase in arrests at the border of citizens of the South American nation fleeing their country, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Currently, Venezuelans do not need a visa to enter Mexico as tourists, but as arrests of Venezuelan migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border increase, this country is evaluating conditioning their entry to certain criteria, said a familiar Mexican official. with the internal discussions of the Government.

The new entry rules could be applied soon, the official said.

A second Mexican government source said Mexico was reviewing its options and holding talks with Venezuela to explore alternatives to imposing visa requirements.

A third person familiar with the talks between Mexico and Washington said the United States is urging its neighbor to impose visa restrictions on Venezuelans, noting that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has complained about the increase in Venezuelans.

Options being reviewed include making Venezuelans prove they are financially solvent, have jobs and have a return plane ticket when they enter, to ensure they are not using Mexico to enter the United States, he said. the first source.

A spokesman for the US State Department said Washington was working with Mexico to address the causes of irregular migration with a “collaborative regional approach” when Reuters asked whether the administration of President Joe Biden was pressuring its partner to toughen up. entry requirements for Venezuelans.

“The United States appreciates Mexico’s efforts that contribute to safe, orderly, and humane processes for migrants in and within its borders,” the spokesperson said.

The White House, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither did the Mexican Foreign Ministry nor the Venezuelan Ministry of Information.

The discussions come at a time when the location of Venezuelans on the U.S.-Mexico border has soared to 47,762 during the year through September, up from just 1,262 in the previous 12-month period, according to U.S. government data.

In September, Mexico suspended the visa waiver for Ecuadorians for six months after a sharp increase in Ecuadorian nationals trying to cross the border with the United States.

Migrant apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border have reached record levels this year, putting pressure on Biden, heading into a November legislative election next year, with many voters in Texas border cities upset and with Republicans accusing to his administration to practice an “open border” policy.

One of the Mexican sources said that Washington had pressured Mexico to stop arrivals from Venezuela, but that the Latin American nation also wanted to make sure that people did not enter deceptively.

A fourth source, from the US government, said lobbying efforts with Mexico have intensified after Venezuelan arrivals soared this summer and diplomats and DHS made informal requests for cooperation.

The source said Washington was not pressuring Mexico.

Tightening entry regulations could seriously affect the immigration plans of many Venezuelans, who pay human smuggling networks to help them escape the economic devastation under President Nicolás Maduro, which has sparked a severe financial meltdown amid strong US sanctions.

Many Venezuelans leave their country with little money.

Venezuelans arriving from other parts of Latin America, such as Colombia or Chile, where they tend to work a few years to collect savings before heading north, would likely be less exposed to requirements focused on their solvency.

The US government source said Biden advisers could raise the issue of Venezuelan migrants with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s delegation when he visits Washington next week for a summit between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Reuters reported in October that the Biden government wanted Mexico to impose visa requirements on Brazilians to complicate their way to the border with the United States. 

Source: forbes.com.mx, businessinsider.mx

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