US Will Give Work Permits To Half A Million Venezuelans.

Photo credit: Latinovations. Venezuelans are happy to have the opportunity to work while temporarily in the USA.
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The Biden administration said Wednesday night that it will grant work permits and temporary relief from deportation to nearly half a million Venezuelans who are already in the U.S.

The announcement follows calls from Democrats to help newly arrived migrants work legally.

Venezuelans who were in the U.S. as of July 31 can sign up for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

TPS is a temporary, renewable benefit that grants protection from deportation and permission to work for people who are unable to return to their countries due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, among other conditions. In order to be eligible, applicants must show their continuous residence in the United States.

The Homeland Security Department will announce a 180- day registration period when applications can be filed with Citizenship and Immigration Services. All applicants must undergo security and background checks.

This decision is intended to tighten pressure on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, under whom the country’s economy has crumbled, many of its residents have fled and the ones who remain beg for food and other basic needs.

During his campaign, Biden promised to extend the protections for Venezuelans in the U.S., many of whom reside in the swing state of Florida.

Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, stated, “The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens. 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 officials estimate that about 242,700 Venezuelans are currently covered by TPS and that roughly 472,000 more people will now be eligible for work permits.

“After reviewing the country conditions in Venezuela and consulting with interagency partners, Secretary Mayorkas determined that an 18-month TPS extension and redesignation are warranted based on Venezuela’s increased instability and lack of safety due to the enduring humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

Prominent Democrats, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams, have been calling on the Biden administration to extend work access for newly arrived migrants who are straining local resources. But the administration had been reluctant.

Millions of people have left Venezuela in recent years, fleeing from economic and political turmoil. Republicans and immigration hardliners warn that expanding TPS will encourage more migration.

Temporary Protected Status is not a pathway to permanent residency. But critics say the program has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to stay in the U.S. indefinitely while their status is extended.

Earlier this month, Adams declared the asylum-seekers crisis would “destroy New York City.” Last night, he responded to the announcement by thanking the White House for “taking this important step that will bring hope to the thousands of Venezuelan asylum seekers currently in our care who will now be immediately eligible for Temporary Protected Status.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul released a similar statement, saying, “There’s more work to do as we address this crisis, but the State of New York is prepared to immediately begin the process of signing people up for work authorization and getting them into jobs so they can become self-sufficient.”

Source: NPR, Latinovations, news agencies.
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