Tent shelters built on New York City's Randall's Island
Immigration Border Crisis Debate In Quotes: Republicans vs. Democrats Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Venezuelan mechanic José Cuicas, 31, anxiously awaited the response of an American friend to sponsor him on one of the 24,000 visas the Biden administration said it will give Venezuelans. He is one of the 1,700 Venezuelans the U.S. authorities deported to Mexico in the past week and has been staying in a shelter in Mexico City’s east side.

A deal between U.S. and Mexico denies Venezuelans the right to U.S. asylum and prevents them from crossing the border. Many Venezuelans were bused to the capital to alleviate pressure on Mexico’s already saturated border cities.

The change in policy came in as an answer to the significant increase in the number of Venezuelans arriving at the border. They are second to Mexicans among the nationalities crossing the border. Because Cuicas was expelled on Oct. 13, just days before the visa program was launched, he is qualified to apply for a visa under the program.

Santa Maria Times reported that Venezuelans who apply online, find a U.S. sponsor and complete other requirements could fly directly to the country if issued a visa. On Friday, U.S. and Mexican officials presented the first update on the program--7,500 applications were processed and the first 100 Venezuelans were approved to fly. Biden administration officials said about 150 Venezuelans cross the border from Mexico daily, down from about 1,200 before the policy was declared on Oct. 12.

According to Cuicas, his dream is to be in the U.S. and start a new life. He left behind his wife and two young children. He said returning is not an option, as there is no future and no work. While Cuicas is optimistic about his chances of enlisting in the U.S. program, observers have commented that the number of visas proposed is minuscule compared to the demand. In September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) documented more than 33,000 encounters with Venezuelans at the border, AP News reported.

Before the deal declaration affecting Venezuelans, Mexico had been willing to receive only migrants from some Central American countries expelled from the U.S. The Biden administration is extending an authority used during the Trump administration to stop migrants arriving at the border from requesting asylum, deporting them under a public health order known as Title 42 that was used during the COVID-19 pandemic, ABC News reported.

Temporary tents being constructed to house migrants
Robert Flores Jr., a 38-year-old Texas man was arrested Tuesday morning on a traffic stop on Interstate Highway 35 in Cotulla, southwest of San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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