Colombia asks for legal status for its people already in US

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia wants the Biden administration to grant temporary legal status to its citizens now living in the United States, noting its own efforts to address regional migration by hosting 2 million Venezuelans who have fled their homes.

Gustavo Petro, who was elected as the first left-wing president of Colombia In June, he committed to the “incredibly liberal policies” of his predecessor, including temporary status for 1.8 million people who fled to neighboring Venezuela, said Luis Alberto Murillo Urrutia, Colombia’s ambassador to the US.

But the diplomat asked the United States for help, saying that more than 80,000 migrants leave Colombia for other countries each year, including Venezuelans who live and work there.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, he asked President Joe Biden to allow Colombians already in the US a temporary status known as deferred enforced departure.

Also Read :  DOJ watchdog calls for review over crypto fraud allegations

“Migration is a regional issue that must be addressed under the principle of shared responsibility, strengthening regional cooperation to ensure the regularization of migration,” Murillo Urrutia wrote in a letter dated November 17 and released by Colombian officials on Tuesday.

That language echoes an agreement that Biden made in Los Angeles in June under then-President Ivan Duke to countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Colombia. “Los Angeles Declaration” It was billed as a roadmap for countries to host large numbers of migrants and refugees.

The White House and the Department of Homeland Security had no immediate comment late Tuesday on Columbia’s request.

It is unclear how many Colombians live in the United States without legal status. The Migration Policy Institute estimated 171,000 in 2019 but that was before tens of thousands arrived at the US border with Mexico this year, many of them released to pursue their cases in immigration court.

Also Read :  Asia-Pacific shares mostly higher following cooler inflation print

US authorities have stopped Colombians at the Mexican border 131,890 times during the first 10 months of this year, including 17,195 times in October, a sharp increase that makes them one of the largest nationalities at the border. Few are subject to Trump-era asylum restrictions, which have largely applied to migrants that Mexico agrees to take in — Guatemalans, Hondurans, El Salvadorans and, most recently, Venezuelans, in addition to Mexicans.

Murillo Urretia said there are about 2 million Colombians living in the United States, without elaborating on their immigration status. Many fled decades-old conflicts that he said the new government had committed to ending under a 2016 peace accord.

Last week, the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army resumed peace talks After a gap of about four years during which the insurgents have expanded the area where they operate.

Also Read :  Two U.S. Soccer Referees Selected To Officiate 2022 World Cup Final To Cap Off Impressive Showing By All Five U.S. Referees In Qatar

“For more than 60 years, thousands of Colombian citizens have been forced to leave the country because of the struggle to rebuild their lives, with many recent arrivals still vulnerable and unprotected in the United States,” wrote Murillo Urrutia. .

The Biden administration extended temporary status to several countries and added Afghanistan, Ukraine, Myanmar, Cameroon and Venezuela, reversing a Trump-era trend of reducing protections for people already in the United States.

A Colombian diplomat said his government’s goal is to “return to Colombia with dignity if they choose to adjust their immigration status in the United States or if they have the legal means to do so.”


Spaghetti reported from San Diego, California.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button