In 2015, Venezuela became one of the top 10 countries whose citizens overstayed their visas
Here at LI, we’ve been chronicling the abysmal failure of socialism as it plays out in Venezuela. The latest development sees starving and desperate Venezuelans flooding the US with asylum requests.
New data shows Venezuelans are leading asylum requests to the United States for the first time, as the middle class in the country are fleeing the crashing, oil-dependent economy.
The U.S. government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that 18,155 Venezuelans submitted asylum requests last year, a 150 percent increase over 2015 and six times the level seen in 2014.
. . . . In 2014 a large number of Venezuelans sought asylum following months of protests seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
A large surge in applicants took place since late 2015 after the opposition took control of congress in a landslide election, giving hope to many that it could disrupt 17 years of socialist rule. Instead of reaching out to his opponents, Maduro retrenched and Venezuelans began to uproot as triple-digit inflation pulverized salaries and widespread food and medicine shortages made life unbearable for many.
A large number of the asylum seekers are middle-class Venezuelans who don’t qualify for refugee status reserved for those seeking to escape political persecution, according to Julio Henriquez, director of the Boston-based nonprofit Refugee Freedom Program.
In addition to seeking asylum, many Venezuelans are overstaying their visas: “According to the Department of Homeland Security’s estimate of visa overstays, Venezuela became one of the top 10 countries whose citizens overstayed their U.S. visas during the fiscal year in 2015.”DONATE
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