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Biden Extends Relief to Ukrainian Refugees as Venezuelan Asylees Are Pushed Back from Border

HeadlineMar 14, 2023

The Biden administration is extending humanitarian relief for thousands of Ukrainian refugees who fled Russia’s invasion and were processed along the Mexican border, allowing them to remain in the United States beyond the program’s initial one-year limit. Similar relief for tens of thousands of Afghan refugees is scheduled to expire in the coming months, but it’s unclear whether that relief will be extended, even as Afghanistan is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis following the Taliban’s return to power in 2021. Advocates have accused Biden of hypocrisy in his treatment of Ukrainians compared to most other asylum seekers and refugees.

In Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, hundreds of asylum seekers, mostly from Venezuela, were blocked by barbed wire and riot police Sunday as they tried to cross into El Paso, Texas, to finally apply for relief. Some reported they were pepper-sprayed. Many of the asylees have waited in Mexico for months facing extremely dangerous living conditions.

Camila Cruz: “Please, we want an answer. The customs app does not work. I am alone. We are alone here. We have been robbed and extorted, and we have no answer. We just want to get in to have a future and help our families, nothing else.”

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