Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Biden Grants Venezuelans in the U.S. a Chance for Temporary Protected Status

President Biden is granting thousands of Venezuelans in the U.S. the chance to apply for temporary protection in the United States. Biden’s order allows 300,000 Venezuelans in the U.S. to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and if granted, recipients can stay and work in the U.S. for 18 months.

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.”

During former President Trump’s term, he imposed sanctions on Venezuela to try to force Maduro out of office and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president. However, Trump refused to support any legislation in Congress to grant Venezuelans protected status and congressional Republicans also blocked legislation to grant it.

A senior Biden Administration official portrayed Trump’s focus on sanctions as a failed strategy. The official told reporters, “the United States is in no rush to lift sanctions. But we need to recognize here that unilateral sanctions over the last four years have not succeeded in achieving an electoral outcome in the country.”

Senator Bob Menendez, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, stated that “continuing to deport Venezuelans to their country would be to tell them they are a burden to the community, a menace to our national security and an unwelcome guest in our country” He further stated, “We are striking a blow to the Maduro regime … and we are sending a powerful signal to allies and competitors that the United States is once again committed to the cause of democracy.”