Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Wealthy residents of South American countries suffering from economic problems are flying to Mexico and mingling with the crowd of poor migrants crossing illegally into the United States, according to a report.

The economic conditions in countries like Brazil and Venezuela are forcing some middle-class residents to fly to the border and join other migrants fleeing poverty and crime to seek asylum in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The U.S. government does not track the economic status of migrants, but Chris T. Clem, the head of the border patrol in Yuma, Ariz., Told the Journal that federal officials encounter people who fly to a Mexican border town almost every day.

“They got off the plane and went to a taxi or a bus,” Clem said of the well-to-do illegal immigrants. “They were literally driven up and just went up and surrendered to us.”

The ravages of the pandemic and the devastation it caused in the economies of many countries are encouraging some affluent people to seek refuge in the United States, who would not have made the trek before.

“The global recession really made people lose hope,” Andrew Selee, president of the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute, told the Journal. “It’s a big thing to go from being middle class in your country to being undocumented in the United States.”

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen wading between the United States and Mexico on the Rio Grande, in Del Rio, Texas.
The pandemic hit economies in South America and the Caribbean particularly hard.
AP Photo / Julio Cortez, File

While economic growth in South America and the Caribbean has risen slightly since 2020, the recovery has been slower than in other markets, and the continuing coronavirus crisis threatens to prevent new gains, the International Monetary Fund said.

More than 26 million jobs were lost in the region due to the pandemic, the IMF report states.

It also said that the income per. Inhabitant does not reach the level before the pandemic until 2024.

Like other migrants seeking asylum in the United States, they are sent from South America to shelters and then to their final destinations while waiting for the immigration process to unfold in the courts.

But unlike their poorer counterparts from Central America and Haiti, middle-class illegal immigrants leave the shelters shortly after arrival.

Recently, the report said that about a dozen people from Venezuela – a mix of adults and teenagers – went up to the border in Yuma after crossing the Colorado River.

They said they had taken three flights and a bus to get to the Mexican border town of Algodones before going through a hole in the border fence to the United States.

Members of the Mexico Migration Institute patrol the Rio Grande area that separates the cities of Del Rio, Texas and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
South American migrants are unable to fly into a US airport and seek asylum.
AP Photo / Fernando Llano

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 to a welcome center in Tucson.

“We were informed by others about the process they were taking,” Silvana Ribiero de Santos, a 33-year-old mother, told the Journal about her family’s decision to fly to Mexico. “In my country it is very bad. [People] have nothing. ”

South American migrants cannot fly into a US airport and seek asylum because they usually must have a valid US visa to board a plane with the US.

Visas are issued only in Brazil in emergencies, and US diplomatic missions in Venezuela are closed.

Mexico does not require a visa for travelers from Brazil or Venezuela.


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