The socioeconomic crisis in Venezuela is getting to be so bad that neighboring Brazil is getting involved.
After noticing a large amount of Venezuelans fleeing to their country in search of the most basic of necessities, the government of Brazil has decided to grant temporary residence to all Venezuelans who enter the country. This temporary status will be granted for two years from the date of entry and was put into place on February 22.
Under this new resolution, which states that this status is valid for those who “have entered Brazilian territory by land and are nationals of a bordering country,” will require individuals only to show basic identification papers. They must also not have a criminal record, and if they do, they risk deportation back to their home country.
Since Brazil is so large, this decree is valid for every country in South America, except Chile and Ecuador, as they do not border Brazil. However, it is said that this action was created with poverty-stricken Venezuelans in mind.
This temporary status is groundbreaking as Venezuelans will not have to apply for refugee status in the meantime.
Brazil has made this legal change following numerous requests from humanitarian organizations to do something about the insurmountable crisis in Venezuela. With no food, medicine, or jobs to be had, Venezuelans are frantically searching for a place to live where they can support their families and are running out of options. Venezuelans are turning to Brazil in droves, as the politically stable country can offer them a glimpse of healthier living.
Moving like this is quite unique for Venezuelans. While a full 63% of Americans have moved to a new community at least once in their lives, Venezuelans typically stay in the same community in which they were born.
If Venezuelans choose not to stay in South America, the majority choose to go to the United States. In fact, Venezuelans are the largest group of immigrants applying for asylum in the United States. In 2016, a record number of 18,155 sought asylum, which was a whopping 150% increase from the year before, according to Citizenship and Immigration Services data.
It is important to note that the majority of these Venezuelans applying for asylum are from a middle-class background and do not qualify for refugee status.