The Venezuelans left in limbo by new US immigration plan say they can’t get past the border
By Alastair Gee
A series of immigration delays is driving Venezuelans like Jusenio Fernandez to consider their next move.
Fernandez’s son, 12, has a long-term visa to Australia. But with the US’s new “merit based” immigration system, the family is now trapped in a limbo because of their visa.
With nowhere else to go, he and his mother, Maria Cristina, have chosen to flee into hiding.
Mr Fernandez says his son is now waiting on a letter from the Australian embassy which will clear him for a trip to Australia. However, the family – like a number of others – will do nothing until their options are exhausted.
The decision by the US government this week to introduce a “merit-based” immigration system has been dubbed a “coup” by opposition politicians.
But the US has denied that it intends to “seize” the government after President Donald Trump signed an immigration order.
Mr Fernandez says he feels the US authorities have left him to die.
“I will not go until everything has taken its course. Now it’s up to the US authorities to tell me what to do. I’m waiting for a letter from Australia to give me permission for my son to go there,” he told the ABC.
With no other options, he says his son is now waiting on a letter from the Australian embassy which will clear his visa and allow him to travel to Australia.
“I thought there was a deal, a temporary fix, but it just didn’t happen,” he said.
Mr Fernandez and his wife will now travel to the border town of San Antonio in Texas, with the intention of asking immigration officials to expedite a passport for his son.
Ms Fernandez says she is also planning to travel to Brazil and seek asylum there.
“All we want to do now is to reach a solution which is a solution that takes into consideration us, our children, our families,” she said.