The political crisis in Venezuela is fueling a hemispheric refugee crisis, and Colombia, its neighbor to the west, has welcomed about 1.4 million fleeing Venezuelans so far – the most out of any other country.
Texas has also, historically, been a welcoming place for refugees. For decades, it was the largest recipient of refugees in the U.S. Now, lawmakers, including some from Texas, are pushing for special status for Venezuelan refugees, but they’re doing so during a fraught time for immigration in the United States.
Colombia’s former vice president, and now its ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Santos, says Texas can learn a lot from Colombia about how it has dealt with Venezuelan migrants and refugees.
“What’s happening in this border is, to a certain extent, child’s [play] compared to what is happening in Colombia and Venezuela,” Santos says. “Five thousand [Venezuelans] cross the border every day and stay.”
He says it’s an unprecedented humanitarian crisis for his country. But so far, xenophobia among Colombians has not been prevalent, though he says some are starting to complain about the economic consequences of the migration.
What you’ll hear in this story:
– Why his government sees the influx of Venezuelan migrants as an opportunity for good in Colombia
– Why an “internal Venezuelan solution” is essential for solving the refugee crisis
– How the stability of South America is at stake
– Why Austin’s tech culture is desirable to Colombians
Written by Caroline Covington.