Venezuelan migrants in the US tripled in the last decade

Venezuelan migrants in the US tripled in the last decade

Data from the American Community Survey (ACS) reveals that the number of Venezuelan migrants in the United States has tripled in little more than a decade, as a result of a deep economic, social and political crisis that has caused a mass exodus.

It is estimated that there are approximately 545,000 Venezuelans in the North American country, which represents a small percentage of the more than 7 million Venezuelans estimated to have left the country since 2010, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). ).

From the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), based in Washington, point out that the arrival of Venezuelans accelerated in 2022, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Some had first settled elsewhere in South America, facing diminishing economic opportunities and increasing discrimination, so they decided to head north,” explain Ari Hoffman and Jeanne Batalova, from MPI, in a written communication to the who has had access to voice of america.

Many choose to undertake a long journey across the continent, crossing the dangerous Darién Gap and Central America to illegally crossing the border with Mexico in the hope of finding better living conditions in the US. According to data provided by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP, in English) in fiscal year 2022, border authorities “encountered more irregularly entering Venezuelan migrants than in any other year on record” – some 190,000 times – and during the first four months of fiscal year 2023 they found 65,000. meetings, more than during all of 2021.

Biden’s policies to reduce irregular migration

The Joe Biden government promoted at the end of last year a plan to reduce the irregular migration of Venezuelans. On the one hand, through an agreement with Mexico, Venezuelan migrants intercepted entering the US illegally will be returned to the neighboring country. On the other hand, the White House announced a program – very similar to that of the Ukrainians – to regularize up to 30,000 Venezuelan nationals per month who have a sponsor with sufficient financial resources to take charge.

According to an MPI report, “the number of encounters with Venezuelan migrants at the border dropped immediately after the implementation of the new policy.”

The US, the fourth country with the most Venezuelans

The United States is the fourth country with the largest number of Venezuelans, according to the United Nations Population Division: Colombia, with 1.8 million; Peru, with 942,000; Chile, with 524,000; and the United States, with 506,000. It should be clarified that these data are slightly different from those provided by ACS because a different calculation methodology is used.

Where they live?

Florida is the state with the highest percentage of Venezuelan population (51%), followed by Texas (14%) and New York (4%) in the period between 2017 and 2021.

“The four main counties by concentration were the following: Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange in Florida, and Harris County, in Texas, which represented 42% of the Venezuelan population in the United States,” the authors detail in the report. of MPI published recently.

Do they speak English?

The research also points out that Venezuelan migrants are “less likely to be proficient in English” compared to the rest of the foreign population. “Some 52% of Venezuelans age 5 and older reported limited English proficiency in 2021, compared to 46% of all migrants. Approximately 6% of Venezuelan migrants only spoke English at home, compared to 17% of the rest of migrants,” they explain.

How much do they earn?

The Migration Policy Institute concludes that Venezuelan migrants generally have lower incomes compared to native Americans and foreigners. “Households headed by a Venezuelan migrant had an average annual income of $64,000 in 2021, compared to $70,000 for all migrant- and native-headed households,” the MPI document states.

The diaspora and remittances

Although it is estimated that there are more than half a million Venezuelans who arrived in the United States in the last decade, an estimated 750,000 consider themselves “Venezuelan diaspora” as long as they were born in Venezuela or reported Venezuelan ancestry or origin, according to with data from the US Census Bureau.

Regarding remittances, there is no recent data on economic transactions that are carried out from the United States to Venezuela. The latest data from the World Bank is from 2016, when $279 million in remittances were given “through formal channels.”

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Written by Editor TLN

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