EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- The influx of migrants at the U.S. border continues to surge, with daily averages approaching nearly 2,000 individuals, according to Mayor Lee's recent statement to ABC7.
While exact numbes of Venezuelans currently in El Paso are unavailable, Melissa Lopez, Director of Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, says they are facing challenges.
Lopez says, "They don't necessarily have family members or friends to rely on in the U.S. They are truly at the mercy of anyone willing to help them. So, many of their inquiries to us are very basic, such as where should we go? What should we be doing? How can we support ourselves?"
Traditionally, migrants arriving in the United States have had clear final destinations and established support systems. However, Venezuelans are fleeing their homeland's socioeconomic crisis, desperately seeking asylum.
Lopez emphasizes, "The fact that we're seeing very small children traveling with their parents speaks to the unrest not only in Venezuela but also in countries around the world. It reflects the desperation that compels people to embark on this journey."
In response to the situation, the Biden administration is taking action to assist Venezuelans. They have granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to those who arrived before July 31.
Temporary protected status has helped people from other countries affected by natural disasters, such as Haiti in 2012, and individuals from Cuba who cannot re-enter their homeland. In this case, nearly 500,000 Venezuelans in the U.S. may be protected from deportation for 18 months.