Democrats Urge Biden to End Trump-Era Venezuela Sanctions to Ease Border Crisis
Migrants wait along a border wall Aug. 23, 2022, after crossing from Mexico near Yuma, Ariz.InternationalIndiaAfricaA group of Democratic lawmakers are urging US President Joe Biden to lift Trump-era sanctions imposed on Cuba and Venezuela to help alleviate the vast number of migrants arriving on the US border with Mexico, according to a letter obtained by Sputnik on Wednesday from Rep. Veronica Escobar’s office. “Experts widely agree that broad-based US sanctions – expanded to an unprecedented level by former President Donald Trump – are a critical contributing factor in the current increase in migration,” the letter said. “In light of their grave humanitarian toll on the peoples of those countries [Cuba and Venezuela], and the significant logistical challenges that the resulting increase in migration is causing for federal, state, and local authorities, we urge you to act swiftly to lift the failed and indiscriminate economic sanctions that were imposed by the prior administration.” The lawmakers also suggest that Biden should conduct a broader review of preexisting sanctions policies that his administration inherited, which may also serve as push-factors for migration. According to the letter, Venezuelan migration to the US border increased to more than 189,000 crossings last year, up from roughly 4,500 in 2020, while more than 220,000 Cubans fled Cuba in 2022. Most of the Trump administration-imposed sanctions remain and continue to exacerbate US challenges at the southern border, the lawmakers said, adding that they hope Biden’s dialogue with regional partners, such as with Colombian President Gustavo Petro, will communicate a willingness to consider a new approach. “You have a historic opportunity to help mitigate economic push-factors driving migration and affecting our border and many of our cities, while reorienting US policy in the hemisphere towards a more holistic approach that eschews destructive sanctions policies to focus on peace, stability, and prosperity for all inhabitants of the Americas. We hope you will continue down this path,” the letter said. A massive surge of illegal immigration is underway on the US-Mexico border ahead of the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday. The Trump-era public health emergency order allowed the US government to turn away migrants at the border to prevent the spread of COVID-19. AmericasUS Border Agent: Biden Plan to Deter Migrants Was Not Clearly Relayed to Front Lines20:12 GMTUS Congressman Tony Gonzales’s office confirmed to Sputnik earlier in the day that Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei informed him the White House is ignoring his warning calls about a group of 80,000 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, making their way to the United States’ border with Mexico in light of the end of Title 42. An all-time record number of migrants has arrived at the US southern border under the Biden administration, hitting two consecutive records in 2021 and 2022, exceeding 2.3 million people. In fiscal year 2023, the US authorities said they have encountered more than 1.2 million migrants. Fox News and other media outlets have said the number of illegal immigrants to enter the United States since Biden assumed office has exceeded six million.