The United States can add Venezuela to the list of countries whose population is looking to flee to America.
Due to the political instability occurring in Venezuela, and the crash of the heavily oil-dependent country’s economy, there has been a 150 percent increase in Venezuelan visa applications submitted to the United States.
This number represents six times what the United States received in 2014.
In 2014, many Venezuelans were looking to leave their country after their president, Nicolas Maduro, was thrown out of the government. Today, the middle class is looking again to flee the country in droves.
According to Fox News, Julio Henriquez, director of the Boston-based nonprofit Refugee Freedom Program, said many of the asylum seekers are middle-class Venezuelans who wouldn’t normally qualify for refugee status, which is reserved for those seeking to escape political persecution.
Henriquez’s nonprofit group obtained this information from a yet-to-be published report obtained in a meeting the program attended on Feb. 8 between U.S. officials and immigration lawyers.
“The pace at which requests are increasing is alarming. It’s not just worrisome that so many people are escaping the terrible situation in Venezuela but also that the practice of sending asylum-seekers with poor advice and false proof is proliferating,” stated Henriquez.
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.”
As far other countries whose citizens are requesting to enter the United States are concerned, China ranks second, with 17,745 requests.
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