Mexico: US plans Ukraine-type relief for Venezuela migrants

The Biden administration has agreed to accept up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants, similar to how Ukrainians have been admitted after Russia’s invasion, while Mexico has agreed to accept some Venezuelans who are expelled from the United States, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had no immediate comment and didn’t mention the agreement in a related announcement that it will make available nearly 65,000 temporary work visas for lower-skilled industries, roughly double the current annual allotment. At least 20,000 of those temporary work visas will be reserved for Haiti and northern Central American countries.

The agreement over Venezuelans — as announced by Mexico — addresses an unusually large increase in Venezuelans arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico after a perilous journey over land that includes Panama’s notorious Darien Gap.

U.S. officials confirmed broad outlines of the plan to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. They emphasized Tuesday that details were still in flux and that nothing was set.

Under the agreement as announced by Mexico and described by U.S. officials while under negotiation, Venezuelans who are chosen would arrive at U.S. airports. The U.S. has agreed to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing war for stays of up two years and have admitted tens of thousands so far, including nearly 17,000 in August.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to discuss the matter when asked by reporters Wednesday but said there would be an announcement.

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Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Colleen Long in Washington and Maria Verza in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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