Venezuela will allow some 20,000 Colombians who were either deported or fled the country in recent weeks to return, the Union of South American Nations said Monday. By Jim Wyssemail@example.com
In a brief statement, UNASUR said Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had agreed to allow the Colombians, many of whom have called Venezuela home for decades, to legalize their immigration status. The concession came after a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, UNASUR said.
Venezuela began closing border crossings and expelling Colombians on Aug. 19, in what the government has said were measures necessary to crack down on contraband and violence.
According to United Nations figures, some 1,400 Colombians have been deported and an additional 18,000 left the country voluntarily amid the crisis. Colombia and human rights groups have accused Venezuela of breaking apart families and abusing the rights of the deportees.
The ministers of defense of both nations are expected to meet this week to continue discussing how to reopen the 1,274-mile border.