Thousands of Venezuelans in the United States are set to benefit from President Joe Biden’s decision to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly half a million individuals fleeing the economic, social, and political crisis in their home country. Carlos*, a former Venezuelan investigator for the Interpol, is one of the many Venezuelans who are now hopeful for a better future in the US.
Carlos shares his experience of being threatened and humiliated in Venezuela due to his refusal to release two individuals involved in digital scams linked to the government. Fearing for his safety, he left his wife and two daughters behind and entered the US on a tourist visa in March. However, he has been unable to work legally and has been living off his savings and selling goods in Venezuela.
The granting of TPS to nearly 500,000 Venezuelans is seen as a blessing by Carlos and many others. It allows them to work legally, process their asylum requests, and reunite with their families. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, clarified that those who arrived after the specified date will be expelled.
John de La Vega, an immigration lawyer, believes that TPS will have a positive impact for those in asylum applications and deportation proceedings, as it speeds up the legalization process and grants a work permit. However, it is important to educate Venezuelans about the benefits of TPS and the need to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
Helene Villalonga, a Venezuelan migrant rights activist, emphasizes that TPS provides insurance and a guarantee against deportation. She hopes that this decision will discourage further migration from Venezuela to the US, as those who arrived after July 31 will not receive TPS.
However, others, like activist Patricia Andrade, fear that the granting of TPS will encourage more Venezuelans to migrate irregularly, hoping for future executive decisions that will benefit them. The situation in New York, where over 100,000 migrants, many of them Venezuelans, have arrived in the past year, has put immense pressure on the city’s immigration and social services.
New York Mayor Eric Adams and Democratic legislators played a significant role in pressuring the Biden administration to grant TPS to alleviate the crisis. Adams launched campaigns to persuade migrants to leave for other cities and offered to set up a shelter for 2,000 people. The decision is seen as a welcome step by New York officials, who are ready to begin registering eligible individuals for work and jobs.
The granting of TPS to Venezuelans in the US highlights the Biden administration’s support for migrants from the country. It also showcases the political tensions between Democratic-led states like New York and Republican-led states along the southern border, where Republican leaders have sent migrants to Democratic-run cities to protest border policies.
As Venezuelans in the US celebrate this opportunity for legal work and protection against deportation, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact migration trends and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.