The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday it would resume removing Venezuelan nationals who enter the U.S. illegally and do not have a legal basis to remain in the country.
DHS said the announcement keeps with its commitment to enforce U.S. immigration laws and strengthen consequences for those who cross the border unlawfully.
The announcement comes after a decision from Venezuelan officials to accept the return of Venezuelan nationals. It also comes after discussions in Mexico City on Wednesday, between the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, and Panama.
During The discussions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, and Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall talked of ongoing efforts between other countries in the Western Hemisphere, dealing with migration issues.
“Today’s announcement makes clear that we are committed to strictly enforcing immigration laws and quickly removing individuals who do not avail themselves of these orderly processes and chose to cross our border unlawfully,” a press release from DHS read.
Last month, the Biden Administration announced it would be offering hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants already in the U.S. — including those in the country illegally — work permits and protections from deportations, just as numbers are skyrocketing at the southern border.
At the time, officials announced a move to redesignate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status, allowing migrants to apply for deportation protections and work permits if they have arrived for a certain date.
The latest announcement from DHS specifically targets those Venezuelans who enter the U.S. illegally.
Under the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protections, which was adopted by President Biden and 20 leaders last year, DHS said they are charged with taking coordinated actions to help stabilize the flow of migrants and expand legal pathways while humanely managing the borders.
Reparations are a part of the approach, DHS said, as is a collaborative effort with other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Still, DHS said migrants coming to the U.S. are urged to take advantage of lawful pathways made available currently, rather than “putting their lives in the hands of callous smugglers and crossing our border unlawfully only to be removed.”