The Biden administration has announced that it will allow many undocumented Venezuelans to remain in the United States because of the humanitarian and economic crisis in their home country.
The designation offers legal protections for 18 months to Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis induced by President Nicolás Maduro’s government.
“It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
According to the United Nations, more than 5.4 million Venezuelans have migrated from the country in recent years, fleeing one of the largest displacement crises in the world.
The TPS will last until September 2022.
Those eligible will have 180 days to apply for the protective status. There is a $50 application fee, an $85 biometrics fee and a $410 fee for those seeking work authorization. Background checks are also required and proof they entered the United States before the March 8 order was issued.
Former President Donald Trump refused to grant Venezuelans temporary protected status during his term as president, but on his last day in office, he issued an executive order deferring the removal of Venezuelans for 18 months.
The U.S. is not the only country offering refuge to Venezuelans. Last month, Colombia also granted temporary legal status to close to one million Venezuelan migrants.
Only individuals who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States as of March 8, 2021, are eligible for TPS under Venezuela’s designation. Due to the pandemic, travel and admission restrictions at the border remain in place.
“To keep deporting Venezuelans back to Maduro’s tragedy would be to tell them they are a burden on our communities, a menace to our national security, and an unwelcome guest in our country,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, referring to Maduro.