New data shows Venezuelans are leading asylum requests to the United States for the first time, as the middle class in the country are fleeing the crashing, oil-dependent economy.The U.S. government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that 18,155 Venezuelans submitted asylum requests last year, a 150 percent increase over 2015 and six times the level seen in 2014.Data showed China in second place, with 17,745 requests coming from the country’s citizens.In 2014, a large number of Venezuelans sought asylum following months of protests seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
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