Immigration

Venezuela refugee crisis overwhelms Colombia: "We don't have the money"

Crossing the Simon Bolivar bridge into Colombia. Photo: Schneyder Mendoza/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia expects the number of Venezuelan refugees within its borders to rise from an already staggering 1.4 million to 3 million by 2021 if the current crisis continues, Ambassador Francisco Santos told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday, adding, “to be very sincere, if it goes to 3 million, we don’t have the money.”

The big picture: Venezuela’s exodus now rivals Syria’s, and countries including Ecuador and Peru are taking steps to stem the flow of refugees. Not Colombia. “With this government, with this president, that’s going to be the policy: open doors,” Santos says.

Migrants battling serious illness can again get temporary deportation protection

A migrant in a wheelchair who would have been impacted by the ending of a medical deferred action program.
Immigrants Mariela, Jonathan, who has cysic fibrosis, and Gary Sanchez after a press conference on the termination of medical deferred action. Photo: Nic Antaya/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Immigrants battling serious illnesses in the U.S. can again receive temporary protection from deportation from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), according to a Department of Homeland Security email sent to House Oversight Committee members on Thursday.

Why it matters: USCIS stopped accepting applications for the medical deferred action program last month. Reports of immigrants battling life-threatening illnesses who might have been forced to leave the country sparked outcry from lawmakers and the public. The email to Oversight Committee members said that acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan directed USCIS to reinstate the program.