U.S. Grants Temporary Protected Status for Thousands of Venezuelan Migrants

In a significant move, the Biden administration has announced the granting of temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are already residing in the United States.

This decision, which rapidly makes them eligible to file for employment authorization, comes as the administration faces an increasing influx of individuals fleeing the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and other regions seeking refuge at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Department of Homeland Security is set to provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to approximately 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the country as of July 31. This action aims to streamline the process for obtaining work authorization in the United States, addressing a key concern voiced by Democratic mayors and governors grappling with the care of a rising number of migrants.

This move is in addition to the 242,700 Venezuelans who already qualified for temporary status before this announcement and will be able to renew their TPS status.

“This decision is a significant step toward providing much-needed relief for Venezuelan migrants in the United States, especially those who will be waiting years for review of their pending asylum applications. It offers them a chance to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to their new communities,” says Lina Baroudi, an immigration attorney and founder of the Law Office of Lina Baroudi.

The Venezuelan Migration Crisis

The significance of these protections for Venezuelans cannot be overstated, as they represent a substantial portion of recent migrants arriving in the United States. Venezuela has faced a decade-long political, economic, and humanitarian crisis, compelling over 7.3 million people to seek refuge abroad.

The majority found shelter in neighboring Latin American countries, but a growing number have embarked on the perilous journey through the notorious Darien Gap in Panama to reach the United States in recent years.

It’s important to note that Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. after July 31, 2023, will not be eligible for TPS protection. Eligible individuals will need to apply to secure it.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas authorized this expansion and an 18-month extension for those already holding temporary status.

Accelerating Work Authorizations

In addition to renewing TPS, the administration is committed to accelerating work authorizations for individuals who have arrived in the country since January.

This will be facilitated through a mobile app for appointments at land crossings with Mexico, known as CBP One, or via parole granted to Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans with financial sponsors arriving at airports.

The goal is to issue work permits within 30 days, a significant improvement over the current waiting period of around 90 days.

It’s important to note that this promise of accelerated work permits does not apply to those who cross the border without authorization and seek asylum, as they are legally required to wait for six months to receive work permits.

Cities Rally for Migrant Work Authorization Support

Mayors and governors across the country have been advocating for a way to enable newly arrived migrants to work legally, allowing them to support themselves. This move has garnered support from officials in cities like New York, Massachusetts, and Chicago, where the strain on resources, especially housing, has become a pressing issue.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul expressed gratitude for the federal government’s swift action in granting Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan asylum seekers and migrants already in the country. Despite previous criticisms of the administration, Mayor Eric Adams commended this decision and thanked them for addressing the city’s concerns.

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian program that provides temporary immigration relief to eligible individuals from specific countries that are facing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions that make it unsafe for them to return.

TPS was established by the United States Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990 and is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through its agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Under TPS, eligible individuals are granted temporary lawful status in the United States, allowing them to live and work legally during the designated period. It is important to note that TPS does not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship. Instead, it offers a temporary reprieve from deportation while the conditions in their home countries improve.

TPS has been a lifeline for thousands of individuals who would otherwise face significant risks and turmoil if forced to return to their home countries. It has allowed them to contribute to their communities, support their families, and build a life in the United States while their home countries recover from the crisis or conflict that led to their TPS designation.

A Long Way to Go For the U.S. Immigration System

While the recent decision to grant temporary legal status to Venezuelan migrants represents a positive step forward, it underscores the fact that the U.S. immigration system still has a long way to go in addressing the broader challenges and complexities of immigration.

Immigration attorney Lina Baroudi emphasizes the importance of seeking legal assistance in navigating the complex U.S. immigration system. With numerous challenges and uncertainties, having an experienced immigration attorney can make all the difference.

Attorneys like Lina Baroudi offer invaluable guidance, ensuring individuals understand their rights, responsibilities, and available legal options. They can help with documentation and applications and represent clients in immigration proceedings.

For more information about Lina Baroudi or to schedule a consultation with her team at The Law Office of Lina Baroudi in San Jose.

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