The Biden administration has started expelling Venezuelan asylum seekers to Mexico under an expansion of the pandemic and Trump-era Title 42 policy that’s been used to block at least 2 million migrants from applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. government this week announced it will only accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans under a new plan, while rapidly expelling others who do not meet strict financial and other criteria. Some 25,000 Venezuelan asylum seekers were apprehended at the southern border in the month of August alone as people continue to flee in part due to the catastrophic impacts of U.S. economic sanctions on Venezuela. This is Venezuelan asylum seeker Leonesi Castillo, who was expelled to Mexico Thursday.
Leonesi Castillo: “I entered the United States. They sent us back with no response. They registered our fingerprints, took our pictures and then sent us back over the bridge, saying, like, 'Go back home again.' They didn’t say anything. They requested that we have a relative who has been living there in the U.S. for over four or five years. It’s unfair. We want a response. We’re in Mexico. We have run out of money. We’ve had our bags stolen. Shelters don’t take us in. We’re stranded in the street. Nobody wants to help us.”