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A family walks toward Texas state troopers after crossing the Rio Grande near the U.S. border with Mexico in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/AFP via Getty Images

Venezuelan migrants are crossing the southern border along the Rio Grande into Texas in record numbers as they look to escape the political, social and economic crisis in their home country, AP reports.

By the numbers: A total of 7,484 Venezuelans were approached by U.S. Border Patrol agents in May at the southern border — "more than all 14 years for which records exist," AP writes.

  • This represents a major increase from the 295 Venezuelan migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in January of this year.

The number of migrants has increased since March, when President Biden granted temporary protected status to Venezuelans living in the U.S. — while there were 913 total Venezuelan migrants crossing in February, there were 2,566 in March.

The big picture: Of the more than 17,000 Venezuelans who crossed the southern border illegally since the start of the year, most had already immigrated from Venezuela to other Latin American countries, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to relocate to the U.S., per AP.

  • Some fled to other countries in South America, but the region is seeing a spike in virus cases and now its "death rate per capita is eight times the world’s rate," the Wall Street Journal notes.

Between the lines: While Venezuelan migrants cross the border along with other Latin American groups that look to evade detention, most intend to turn themselves in to seek asylum. Venezuelan asylum requests tend to go through because the U.S. "corroborates reports of political repression," according to AP.

  • "These are higher-educated people who can advocate for themselves and tell their story in a chronological, clean way that judges are accustomed to thinking," Jodi Goodwin, an immigration attorney in Texas, told AP.
  • The journey to cross the border also tends to be easier for Venezuelans, who can make it into the U.S. in as few as four days. Many fly to Mexico and hire smugglers that call themselves "travel agencies" that offer to take them to the U.S. for around $3,000.

Go deeper

Mexico's drug cartels target migrants as they expand into extortion

Daniel survived a cartel kidnapping and now awaits a U.S. asylum process in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Photo: Noticias Telemundo Investiga

Kidnapping families, torturing kids for information on whom to ask for ransom, and dismembering those that don’t pay: This is how cartels and local gangs operate as they have diversified their business from drug trafficking to extortion.

Why it matters: The stories of survivors show the dire straits migrants face in their journey to the U.S., the one place they think can be a safe haven from the violence, climate disasters, political persecution and poverty that made them leave their place of birth.

U.K. PM orders inquiry into Muslim lawmaker's discrimination claim

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, England, last week. Photo: Ian Vogler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations from a Member of Parliament in his ruling Conservative Party that she was fired from a ministerial job due to her Muslim faith, per the BBC.

Driving the news: Nusrat Ghani told the Sunday Times she was informed that she was fired from her position as a junior transport minister in February 2020 after her "Muslimness was raised as an issue" and that it made her colleagues feel "uncomfortable."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).