Mexico requires visas for Venezuelans in migrant crackdown

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico said Thursday it will begin requiring travel visas for Venezuelans starting Jan. 21, after a surge in the number of migrants trying to reach the U.S. border.

In publishing the new rules, the Interior Department said the decision was based on a tenfold increase in the number of Venezuelan citizens arriving in Mexico in recent years seeking to travel “in an irregular manner to a third country,” a clear reference to the United States.

Last year, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration offered temporary legal residency to several hundred thousand Venezuelans who have fled their country’s economic and political crisis.

On Dec. 11, Mexico suspended a 17-year-old program that had allowed Brazilian citizens to enter without a visa. The move came after Mexico detected an uptick in Brazilian migrants traveling to Mexico with the intention of reaching the United States.

Migrants, mainly from Central America, Haiti and Cuba, often cross Mexico in hopes of reaching the U.S. border. Mexico has largely been aiding the U.S. government in trying to reduce the flow.