Venezuelans Seeking Political Refuge Face Impossible Odds
Venezuelan asylum-seekers are willing to face the pain of starting over in the United States as they leave the Latin American country in droves.
Venezuelan flight to the United States has soared to critical heights amid the Latin American country's economic crisis under Nicolás Maduro. As food shortages, inflation and crime reach staggering levels, Venezuelans are setting their eyes on "the land of the free."
Research shows that applications for U.S. asylum filed by Venezuelans has shot up by 168 percent since 2013, but the transition to American soil is littered with challenges. NBC Latino reports that many Venezuelans are arriving to the nation with tourist visas, which quells any opportunity to work legally in the U.S. Those filing for political refuge also face up to a three year wait before their cases are reviewed.
Patricia Andrade, founder of non-profit organizations Venezuela Awareness and Raíces Venezolanas, stands on the frontline of the effort to donate household goods to newly arrived Venezuelans, but she reveals that influencers in the position to help have opted not to give back to those in need of shelter, medication and food.
"Sometimes I just want to cry," she told the news outlet. "There are a few small donors who give me $50 here and there. But I have not received any help from the wealthy Venezuelan community in Miami, those who have millions."
Yet, returning to Venezuela isn't an option for many asylum seekers who have chosen to bear the dire circumstances that tugs at their livelihood. A hopeful refugee, who chose to identify as "Carlos," believes that his problems will disappear once he receives a paying job, stating, "The impact of returning to Venezuela would be worse than the impact of staying here."