Liberals granting more leeway to would-be Venezuelan immigrants, refugees

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are easing immigration and refugee rules for Venezuelans amid the deepening political and economic crisis in that country.

Failed asylum claimants from Venezuela will now have the ability to challenge deportation orders by arguing that they will face risk if they are sent home.

The move applies only to Venezuelans whose claims were rejected prior to Aug. 19, as the government says changes to conditions in that country will be taken into account on all future refugee claims.

At the same time, Venezuelans seeking to visit, study or work in Canada will be able to use expired passports to enter the country or extend existing permits.

The government says both moves acknowledge the country’s worsening situation, and calls for assistance from Venezuelan citizens and the ex-pat community in Canada.

The announcements come ahead of a meeting in Ottawa this week between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, where the subject of democracy in the South American country is on the agenda.

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