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Venezuelan Requests for Asylum in the U.S. Skyrocket 168 Percent

The crisis in Venezuela is having immigration consequences in the United States, as thousands flee the economic crisis in their home country to seek more stable environments elsewhere.

According to the Pew Research Center asylum applications filed by Venezuelans have skyrocketed 168 percent so far this fiscal year compared with the same time-frame last fiscal year.

From October 2015 to June 2016, Venezuelans filed 10,221 applications for asylum. By comparison, over that same period last fiscal year — October 2014 to June 2015 — just 3,810 Venezuelans filed applications for asylum in the U.S. As Pew highlights, Venezuelan asylum requests are topped now only by applicants from China and Mexico each of which have 11,826 and 10,749 applications, respectively.

Pew estimates there are currently 225,000 Venezuelan immigrants in the U.S., between 25 percent to 30 percent of whom are in the country illegally. As Pew notes, Venezuela was among the top ten leading countries for visa overstays in FY 2015, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released earlier this year.

While Venezuelans are seeking less volatile countries for refuge, the U.S is the top country of choice for Venezuelan immigrants. According to Fox News Latino, Andres Bello University found that more than one in four Venezuelans between the ages of 15 to 29 are considering leaving Venezuela, 29 percent of whom plan to go to the U.S., 18 percent plan to go to Spain and nine percent are going to Columbia.

Currently the U.S. is home to the most Venezuelan immigrants, followed by Spain, which has 150,000 Venezuelan immigrants. According to Pew, 59 percent of the 225,000 Venezuelans living in the U.S. have lived in the U.S. for over a decade and about half of them reside in Florida.

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