Colombian officials warn of an “invasion” of illegal immigrants following the deportation of 33 Venezuelans. The South American country’s border with Venezuela was recently re-opened. Venezuela is facing massive economic problems with its failing, socialist economy.
Colombia is the gateway from South American to Central America. Colombian immigration officials detained 33 Venezuelan women at its northern city of Barrancabermeja and returned them to the border crossing at Cucuta for deportation, according to Associated Press reports.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro re-opened its border with Colombia after shutting it down for several months. Officials had previously shut down border crossings to crack down on smuggling.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the re-opened border with Venezuela but warned that cities in his country were facing “invasions” by Venezuelans who cross and refuse to return home. He said the Venezuelans stay in Colombia because of the worsening economic depression in that country, the AP reported.
Venezuelans have been fleeing to the United States in increasing numbers, PRI.org reported earlier this month. Immigrants reported “Cuban-like” conditions in Venezuela. “There’s no food, there’s no toothpaste, there’s no Pampers [in Venezuela],” Eduardo, a long-time U.S. resident who recently has been helping his cousin seek asylum, told the online news organization. “It’s Cuba, 100 percent.” He continued, saying his fellow countrymen live in fear of being killed in Venezuela. “In Venezuela, there is no safety.”
The wave of Venezuelans pouring into Colombia could signal a possible move of migrants attempting to find their way to the U.S. southern border with Mexico. People in Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have been fleeing violence and depressed economic conditions for many years.
The problem has worsened to the point that Mexico is now working with U.S. immigration officials to try and stop illegal immigrants from crossing their southern border, Breitbart Texas reported earlier this month.