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VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, Oct. 15-21

A Venezuelan migrant walks to board a repatriation flight as a part of an immigration enforcement process at the airport in Harlingen, Texas, on Oct. 18, 2023.
A Venezuelan migrant walks to board a repatriation flight as a part of an immigration enforcement process at the airport in Harlingen, Texas, on Oct. 18, 2023.

Editor's note: Here is a look at immigration-related news around the U.S. this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team:

Venezuela Receives First Group of Deported Migrants From US

The U.S. has not carried out regular deportations to Venezuela since 2019, but at an airport in Harlingen, Texas, Venezuelan men and women arrived on buses in shackles, underwent pat-downs and were escorted onto a charter plane. The 135 Venezuelan migrants were deported from the United States on Wednesday to Caracas, Venezuela. Immigration reporter Aline Barros has the story.

Pilot Program Could Allow Some Work Visa Holders to Renew Them in US

The U.S. State Department is working on a pilot program that would allow some work visa holders currently in the United States to renew their visas here, rather than traveling to their home country. Immigration reporter Aline Barros has the story.

US Advocates for Afghan Refugees Amid Pakistan's Threatened Expulsion

The United States has engaged in high-level diplomatic discussions in Pakistan to address concerns related to Afghan refugees on the brink of mass deportation. The Pakistani government has pledged to deport hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals who do not possess recognized refugee status. This includes Afghans who collaborated with the United States and its allies prior to 2021. Story by Akmal Dawi.

Settlement Over Trump Family Separations at the Border Seeks to Limit Future Separations for 8 Years

A settlement filed Monday in a long-running lawsuit over the Trump administration's separation of parents and their children at the border bars the government from similar separations for eight years while also providing benefits like the ability for their parents to come to America and work, according to the Biden administration. Story by The Associated Press.

California to Give Some Mexican Residents Near Border In-State Community College Tuition

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law Friday to make low-income Mexican residents living near the border eligible for in-state tuition rates at certain community colleges. The legislation applies to low-income Mexicans who live within 72 kilometers (45 miles) of the California-Mexico border and want to attend a participating community college in Southern California. It is a pilot program that will launch next year and run until 2029. Story by The Associated Press.

Ukrainian Family Returns Home After Long Rehabilitation in US

As the war drags on, some severely injured Ukrainians who received medical help abroad are returning home. Yana Stepanenko and her mother have resettled in Lviv after a year of treatment and rehabilitation in the U.S. Omelyan Oshchudlyak has the story. Camera: Yuriy Dankevychs.

Immigration around the world

Six Months Into War, Sudanese Seek Refuge Outside Chaotic Capital

Six months after tensions between rival Sudanese generals ignited a devastating war, thousands lie dead, millions are displaced and the once-thriving capital, Khartoum, is a shadow of its past glory. When the first bombs fell on April 15, the capital's residents looked on in terror as entire neighborhoods were razed and essential services were paralyzed, exacerbating their misery. Story by Agence France-Presse.

Egypt Expresses Opposition to Allowing Palestinians From Gaza Into Sinai

As Egypt faces the possibility of receiving an influx of Palestinian refugees from its northern border with Gaza, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has repeated his country's long-standing opposition to permitting Palestinians from Gaza to be resettled in the Sinai. Egypt and Israel reportedly agreed Saturday to open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egyptian territory to allow U.S. citizens stranded in the Hamas-controlled territory to leave. Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Cairo, Egypt.

Water Runs Out at UN Shelters in Gaza

Water has run out at U.N. shelters across Gaza as thousands packed into the courtyard of the besieged territory's largest hospital as a refuge of last resort from a looming Israeli ground offensive and overwhelmed doctors struggled to care for patients they fear will die once generators run out of fuel. The Associated Press reports.

Italy to Charge Foreigners Over $2,100 a Year for Health Service

Foreigners who live in Italy will be able to use the national health service after paying a $2,109 annual fee, the government said Monday. The charge, part of the 2024 budget adopted by the Cabinet, will apply only to citizens from outside the European Union, the economy ministry said in a statement. The ministry said there would be an unspecified discount for those with legal residency papers, as well as for foreign students and au pairs. Story by Reuters.

Community Hostility in Chad Rising as Refugee and Displacement Crisis Grows

U.N. officials warned Monday that community hostility in Chad is rising as thousands of refugees from conflict-ridden Sudan continue to arrive, putting pressure on limited resources Chadians depend on for their livelihoods and survival. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

Why Egypt, Other Arab Countries Are Unwilling to Accept Refugees From Gaza

As desperate Palestinians in sealed-off Gaza try to find refuge, some ask why neighboring Egypt and Jordan don't take them in. The two countries, which flank Israel on opposite sides and share borders with Gaza and the occupied West Bank, respectively, have replied with a staunch refusal. Story by The Associated Press.

Fearing Rise of Radical Islamists, Greece Boosts Migrant Camp Security, Surveillance

Greek intelligence has increased surveillance of refugee camps in the country amid radical Islamist calls for jihad in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Like many other countries, Greece has boosted security since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, elevating its level of national alert to Code 4, just shy of the highest level possible. Report by Anthee Carassava.

News briefs

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced the start of visa-free travel for short-term visits to the United States for eligible Israeli citizens and nationals following Israel’s admission into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

DHS also announced a new family-reunification parole process for certain nationals of Ecuador, whose family members are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and who have received approval to join their family in the United States. Specifically, Ecuadorian nationals and their immediate family members can be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis for a period of up to three years while they wait to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.