TIJUANA (Border Report) — Recently expelled Venezuelan migrants in Tijuana say the Mexican government has lied to them and is not serious about helping them get to the U.S.
Instead, the migrants say, Mexico is only offering them temporary residency, something they are afraid to accept believing it will preclude them from getting north of the border.
José Gregorio, a migrant from Venezuela who was expelled into Tijuana late last week, says he and 140 others were also deceived by U.S. officials after being apprehended near El Paso, Texas, and taken briefly to a detention facility.
He says they were never told their ultimate destination was Tijuana and that they never signed any documents agreeing to be expelled.
Last week, however, the Department of Homeland Security decided that like migrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the Venezuelans would also be expelled under Title 42.
Title 42 is a health directive issued during the Trump administration by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowing CBP officers and agents to expel migrants as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The expulsions prevent migrants from seeking asylum.
“We’re looking for support from the Mexican government to extend our tourist visas before they expire, but only if it doesn’t hurt our chances of migrating to the other side of the border,” José said.
He stated his visa expires in three days and is worried he may be considered undocumented in Mexico and at that point would be deported back to Venezuela.
The Venezuelan migrant believes that is what the Mexican government is planning on doing to him and many others while acting on behalf of the U.S. government.
As of late Tuesday, 552 migrants from Venezuela had been expelled from the San Diego side of the border into Tijuana.
According to migrant advocates south of the border, most of these migrants were apprehended in El Paso, Yuma, Arizona, and New Mexico.
They are expecting as many as 200 more per day to arrive in Tijuana during the next few weeks.
“It’s been a total deception all the way around, no explanations given, all we’ve been told is ‘go,'” José said