• Press Release

Deportation Flights of Venezuelan Nationals Violate International Refugee Law

October 20, 2023

A migrant family watches the sunset while waiting to be accounted for and taken to a border patrol processing facility after crossing the Rio Grande into the U.S. on June 21, 2021 in La Joya, Texas. A surge of mostly Central American immigrants crossing into the United States has challenged U.S. immigration agencies along the U.S. Southern border.
(Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
The US government must immediately stop disregarding international refugee law and human rights law and end all deportation flights and forced returns to Venezuela, Amnesty International said today in response to the unlawful return of Venezuelan nationals from the United States to Venezuela.

“Over 25% of the population of Venezuela – more than 7.71 million people – have fled massive human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity. That’s one in every four people in the country while numbers continue to rise. Since May 2022, there has been a 1.4 million increase. Amnesty International calls for a ban on all forced returns to Venezuela, given the risk to their lives, safety and freedoms Venezuelans face if returned,” said Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“The US government must be consistent with its condemnation of human rights violations in the country, as well as its recent redesignation and extension of Temporary Protected Status for over 470,000 Venezuelans currently in the United States, and immediately cease all deportation flights and forced returns of Venezuelans to their country. All returns already carried out should be reviewed and reversed in cases where due process was not duly observed.”

The United States is one of the top countries hosting Venezuelan nationals worldwide, with the population increasing daily as Venezuelans continue to be one of the top nationalities arriving to the US through the border and parole programs. In line with international law obligations, particularly the principle of non-refoulement, Amnesty International considers that Venezuelans should not be returned to their country. UNHCR has also called on states to refrain from deporting, expelling, or forcing Venezuelans in any other way to return to Venezuela, urging them to ensure this guarantee in the documentation provided to Venezuelans and through clear instructions to law enforcement agencies.

Contact: [email protected]