Some of the Venezuelan migrants stuck in this border metropolis, thanks to Washington’s tough new limits on their entering the United States, have turned to barbering to keep body and soul together.
While many of the clients are other migrants, residents of Ciudad Juárez are also patronizing the Venezuelan barbers at the encampment on the banks of the Río Grande, which forms the natural border between the US and México.
Adrian Cázares, 23, set out from Maracaibo before the Oct. 12 announcement by the U.S. that it will grant 24,000 humanitarian visas to people from Venezuela who arrive by plane and have sponsors, while those who enter across the Mexican border face summary deportation back to the Aztec nation.
“It’s been a few weeks since I arrived here with my cousin, the route was very tough,” he said. “I worked selling juice at an intersection and put together the money necessary for the equipment to cut hair.”
Cázares expects that he will soon be earning enough to be able to send money home to his parents back in Venezuela.
“Here we set a space to work and generate income,” 32-year-old José Miguel Ceballos says while trimming the beard of a compatriot.
Ceballos was accompanied on the trip north by his father and sister.
“We are here working and demonstrating that we seek to earn our living honorably and my thinking is to cross (the border) and request asylum. The time we spend here depends on health, on the climatic and physical situation,” he said.
The International Organization for Migration says that Venezuelans make up 80 percent of the migrants who brave the rigors of the Darien jungle, which separates Colombia from Panama, in hopes of reaching the US.
The region is experiencing a record flow of migrants trying to make their way to the U.S., whose Customs and Border Protection agency intercepted more than 2.76 million undocumented migrants in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022.
Between U.S. President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021 and the end of September 2022, more than 3.89 million migrants have been detained at the border, according to figures from the TResearch International consulting firm.
That figure exceeds the total for the equivalent periods of the presidencies of Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
And the Mexican government received a record 58,000 asylum applications in the first half of this year, 10 percent of them from Venezuelans.