Fact-check: Illegal immigration down after Venezuela program, but Title 42 likely also a factor

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Maria Ramirez Uribe, PolitiFact.comJanuary 11, 2023 11:20 am, ,

From PolitiFact:

President Joe Biden announced the expansion of an immigration program that will give 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela the chance to enter the U.S. legally. He touted the parole program’s success with Venezuelans, who have been eligible for it since October 2022.

“Since we created the new program the number of Venezuelans trying to enter America without going through a legal process has dropped dramatically,” Biden said Jan. 5. “From about 1,100 per day to less than 250 per day on average.”

The parole program for Venezuelans, which gives eligible immigrants the chance to enter the U.S. legally for two years and work, was announced Oct. 12, following an 84% increase in the number of Venezuelans stopped at the U.S. southern border from May to September.

To receive the parole, immigrants must apply from outside the U.S., not be in Mexico or Panama illegally, pass a background check and have an eligible sponsor.

The same day the parole program for Venezuelans was announced, the Department of Homeland Security said it would begin using Title 42, a public health policy, to quickly deport Venezuelan immigrants ineligible for the parole program. Title 42 is a section of federal law that gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority to deny entry to the U.S. to people from countries where there is an outbreak of an infectious disease. The Trump administration invoked Title 42 in 2020 to stem COVID-19’s spread.

Before the October changes, Mexico would not accept Venezuelans sent back under Title 42. Because of fraught relations between the U.S. and Venezuela, Border Patrol could not send the immigrants directly back to their country of origin, either, so they were let into the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data backs up Biden’s claim that illegal immigration from Venezuela drastically decreased after the parole program’s implementation. But the use of Title 42 also likely influenced the numbers. …

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