Affluent residents of economically struggling South American countries fly to Mexico and mix with crowds of poor migrants who enter the United States illegally, according to a report.
Economic conditions in countries like Brazil and Venezuela are forcing some middle-class residents to go to the border and join other migrants fleeing poverty and crime to seek asylum in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The US government does not monitor the financial situation of migrants, but Chris T. Clem, the chief border patrol officer in Yuma, Ariz., Told the Journal that federal officials were meeting with people on their way to a town. Mexican border almost every day.
“They got off the plane and went in a taxi or a bus,” Clem said of the well-heeled illegal immigrants. “They literally were led away and just surrendered to us.”
The devastation of the pandemic and the devastation it has wreaked on the economies of many countries is prompting some wealthy people to seek refuge in the United States who would not have made the trip before.
“The global recession has really made people lose hope,” Andrew Selee, president of the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute, told The Journal. “It’s a big deal to go from being the middle class in your country to being undocumented in the United States.”
While economic growth in South America and the Caribbean has rebounded slightly since 2020, the recovery has been slower than in other markets and the continuing coronavirus crisis threatens to hamper further gains, the Monetary Fund said. international.
More than 26 million jobs have been lost in the region due to the pandemic, according to the IMF report.
He also said per capita income would not catch up to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
Like other migrants seeking asylum in the United States, those from South America are sent to shelters and then to their final destination while waiting for the immigration process to proceed in court.
But unlike their poorer counterparts in Central America and Haiti, illegal middle-class immigrants leave shelters soon after arriving.
Recently, according to the report, a dozen people from Venezuela – a mix of adults and teenagers – walked to the border in Yuma after crossing the Colorado River.
They said they took three flights and a bus to the Mexican border town of Algodones before crossing a breach in the border fence to the United States.
They said they traveled two days to get there – a stark contrast to the months other illegal immigrants from Haiti or Central America take on their travels.
A number of Brazilian illegal immigrants were released the next day at a reception center in Tucson.
“We were told by others about the process they followed,” Silvana Ribiero de Santos, a 33-year-old mother, told the Journal of her family’s decision to fly to Mexico. “In my country, it’s very bad. [People] I have nothing.
South American migrants cannot go to a US airport and apply for asylum as they usually need to have a valid US visa to board a flight to the United States.
Visas are only issued in Brazil in emergencies, and US diplomatic offices in Venezuela are closed.
Mexico does not require a visa for travelers from Brazil or Venezuela.