There’s a huge illegal immigration crisis brewing, but this one isn’t in America:
The deep economic crisis afflicting Venezuela has prompted 3.6 million Venezuelans to flee, most since 2015, according to the United Nations. That’s roughly 10 percent of the country’s population. Most have crossed into relatively large, neighboring countries like Brazil and Colombia. But some are landing on tiny Caribbean islands just off Venezuela’s coast, like Aruba, Curaçao and Trinidad.
Many Venezuelans enter Trinidad legally as tourists, then overstay their permits. Those who lack passports pay boat captains to take them ashore under cover of night. All told, Trinidadian officials estimate as many as 60,000 Venezuelans have recently settled in Trinidad, which has a stable economy thanks to its oil, natural gas and petrochemicals industries.
That might not sound like a flood. But Trinidad is only slightly larger than Rhode Island and is home to just 1.3 million people. Proportionate to its population, Trinidad has received more Venezuelans than almost any other country.
Trinidad signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which is the basis for international refugee law. But the U.N. high commissioner for refugees and human rights groups say the April expulsions were a serious breach of the convention.
“We are not in China. We are not Russia. We are not America,” he said. “We are a little island — limited space — and therefore we cannot and will not allow the U.N. spokespersons to convert us into a refugee camp.”
Once settling in, Venezuelans often try to coax family members to join them.
The article is somewhat deceptive about Trinidad’s stability and wealth. The country has struggled immensely in recent years due to the oil price crash, and gone through years of recession thanks to the oil price shock of late 2014. They emerged from recession finally in 2018, but GDP growth remains anemic at best.
Furthermore, Trinidad recently had to shut down its state-run oil company Petrotrin after discovering the company had been concealing billions in losses for years.
The country is in no shape to be accepting tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees, especially with the refugees quickly bringing their entire families over when they arrive. Right now, Trinidad has just 60K, but it has been estimated that as many as 10 million people (one third of the country’s entire population) are going to emigrate from Venezuela, and small countries like Trinidad are at serious risk of being completely overwhelmed in a human wave.
This is why I believe military intervention in Venezuela is coming; whether from the US or elsewhere. Colombia, Trinidad, and the rest of South America are simply not equipped to provide for tens of millions of refugees, many of which will be dangerous criminals, and the US simply can’t afford to have its southern neighbors collapse into total chaos. One Mexico is bad enough; we cannot abide a continent full of them.