RCUSA responds to Venezuelan parole program

Washington, DC – On October 12, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the United States would utilize humanitarian parole to provide protection to a limited number of Venezuelans, while simultaneously expanding the use of Title 42 expulsions to deny entry to many more Venezuelans, including asylum seekers. RCUSA is grateful for any opportunity extended to vulnerable people to seek and obtain humanitarian protection; however, this newly proposed program is inherently inequitable and will inevitably harm people seeking asylum. Seeking asylum is a legal right that must not be prejudicially accessible based on the individual’s nationality, pre-existing ties, financial means, or manner of entry.   

Of significant concern to RCUSA are the dual requirements that each applicant have a US-based sponsor and that the program is limited to those entering the US by air. This means that the 24,000 promised parole opportunities may exclude the most vulnerable Venezuelans, prioritizing a select few with the resources and relationships to obtain sponsorship, valid passports, and airfare.  

Simultaneously, DHS is expanding the use of Title 42, despite President Biden declaring the pandemic over. Title 42 was originally utilized by the Trump administration to close the southern border at the start of the pandemic, effectively shutting down the opportunity for individuals to exercise their legal right to seek asylum. In preventing Venezuelans from accessing asylum, the newly announced program echoes the previous administration’s use of Title 42 and the Migrant Protection Protocols (aka “Remain in Mexico”).  

“Humanitarian parole is an important component of the suite of pathways that make up our nation’s system of humanitarian protection, and we welcome the extension of parole opportunities to displaced Venezuelans,” said RCUSA Executive Director John Slocum. “But the administration is setting a potentially dangerous precedent with its reliance on parole as a means of providing limited and temporary protections for a select few nationalities. Alongside the significant progress the administration is making on rebuilding refugee resettlement, the US must also continue to provide meaningful access to asylum – as an integral component of refugee protection, and as required under domestic law and international legal commitments. Protection solutions must center equity, accessibility, as well as necessary support and services for asylum seekers. As a global leader in humanitarian protection, the United States sends the wrong signal when its policies suggest that protection can be limited to those with US ties or financial means, or those belonging to certain preferred nationalities.” 

RCUSA calls on the administration to definitively end Title 42 and establish clear pathways for all vulnerable Venezuelans seeking asylum. 

Media contact: Sarah Seniuk, sseniuk@rcusa.org 

RCUSA is a diverse coalition advocating for just and humane laws and policies, and the promotion of dialogue and communication among government, civil society, and those who need protection and welcome. Individual RCUSA members do not all address all refugee-related issues, nor do all individual members approach common refugee-related issues identically