Refugees International Concerned about Reported U.S. Deportations of Venezuelans via Trinidad and Tobago

Please see below statement from Refugees International Communications Officer Aviva Shwayder:

We are deeply concerned by reports that the Trump administration has been engaged in stealth deportations of Venezuelans from the United States to Venezuela via third countries, including  Trinidad and Tobago. It is shocking that the Trump administration pursued these deportations after a May 2019 Department of Transportation suspension of air service between U.S. and Venezuelan airports, due to the economic and political crisis in Venezuela. 

In February 2020, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams acknowledged that some deportations of Venezuelans were continuing. But later in August, he agreed that it was not safe to return Venezuelans to their country of origin and added that the administration was not currently deporting them.  

We agree with Special Representative Abrams that nobody should be forcibly returned to Venezuela under current conditions. 

We urge the Trump administration 1) to affirm that the United States is not and will not be deporting Venezuelans; and 2) to provide detailed information on stealth deportations through third countries that have taken place since May 2019. 

Trinidad and Tobago, one of the countries reportedly involved in these deportations, should refuse cooperation in any U.S. forcible return of Venezuelans. In fact, through a registration process last year, Trinidad and Tobago granted legal status and the right to work to some 16,500 Venezuelans. But thousands of others remain in legal limbo, and they should also be permitted to register.


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Sarah Sheffer at