October 20, 2022

Human rights and humanitarian groups present in Mexican border cities voiced strong concerns about the way that Title 42 expulsions of Venezuelan migrants into Mexico had been occurring since they began on October 12.

Dana Graber Ladek, IOM’s Mexico chief of mission, told Reuters that those expelled include single mothers, pregnant women, and people with illnesses.

Media reports pointed to husbands and wives being separated, with the spouses expelled hundreds of miles apart. “The separations of at least three married couples, as well as a mother returned without her 20-year-old son, occurred during some of the first expulsions of Venezuelans,” Reuters found. From the Rio Grande Valley Monitor:

“Some people came with their wives and they were separated. And they didn’t know where their wives were,” Felicia Rangel-Samponaro said.… “While we were on the bridge, one gentleman received a call from his wife. She was up in Piedras Negras by herself. He was standing there in Matamoros,” Rangel-Samponaro said.

Venezuelan migrants interviewed by the Monitor spoke of poor conditions in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, held “for up to nine days but only receiv[ing] apples to eat and water to drink without access to showers.”

Others reported non-return of documents or damage to personal items like telephones. The Monitor cited a Venezuelan migrant, using a pseudonym:

“They would throw the phones into the bags, ‘plunck, plunck.’ A lot of phones broke or didn’t want to turn on, because in a lot of the places we were taken, they’d throw down our belongings and told us to get our property,” David said.

— Diaz, Lizbeth, and Jose Luis Gonzalez. “U.N. Agency Flags Concern over Mass Venezuelan Expulsions from U.S.” Reuters, October 20, 2022, sec. Americas. <https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/un-agency-flags-concern-over-mass-venezuelan-expulsions-us-2022-10-19/>.

— Gonzalez, Valerie. “Venezuelan Migrants Show up at International Bridge with Questions Following Changes in US Policy.” MyRGV.Com. October 15, 2022. <https://myrgv.com/local-news/2022/10/14/venezuelan-migrants-show-up-at-international-bridge-with-questions-following-changes-in-us-policy/>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide, Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Confiscation of Documents, Family Separation, Non-Return of Belongings

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Married Adults, Venezuela