Thursday, April 15

Biden will give immigration protection to 320,000 Venezuelans in the US

The president of U.S, Joe Biden, will grant some 320,000 Venezuelans who are in your country on Immigration protection Temporary Protected Status (TPS, in English), which will allow them to work and reside legally, in a step that, according to opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognizes the dignity of his compatriots.

Two officials from the Biden administration made the announcement in a call with journalists in which they detailed that the measure It will be valid for 18 months, although it could be extended, and from which only those Venezuelans who are already in the United States as of today, March 8, 2021 will be able to benefit.

The measure will officially take effect this Tuesday, when it is published in the Federal Register, the official government gazette in which laws, regulations and public notices are disseminated. From its publication, interested Venezuelans will have 180 days to benefit from this program.

Another requirement to benefit will be to demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record and must pay fees that add up to $ 545 to the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, for its acronym in English), which will manage the applications.

One of the first to react was Carlos Vecchio, Guaidó’s diplomatic representative in the US, who told EFE that the granting of TPS to his compatriots shows that the situation in Venezuela “remains critical.” “It is an important measure, it was necessary and urgent to be granted in favor of Venezuelans within the United States,” Vecchio said.

TPS is a immigration program created in 1990 with which the US grants extraordinary permits to immigrants from nations affected by war conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics or other conditions that do not ensure the return of nationals to their countries of origin.

Biden has decided to grant TPS to Venezuelans considering that they cannot safely return to their country due to the “extraordinary conditions” that Venezuela is currently experiencing, said the two aforementioned officials, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity. “There is a complex humanitarian situation with widespread hunger, malnutrition and the growing presence of non-state armed groups and infrastructure in ruins,” argued one of the sources. That official assured that Washington estimates that some 320,000 Venezuelans will be able to benefit from TPS.

In the US Congress, the consensus between Democrats and Republicans has grown on the need to grant TPS to Venezuelans and, during the electoral campaign, Biden promised that one of his first actions in the White House would be to grant that immigration permit.

Before leaving power, his predecessor, Donald Trump, suspended the deportation of Venezuelan irregular immigrants for a period of 18 months and also granted them temporary work permits. Trump adopted that measure under a permit called Deferred Forced Departure (DED) and that US presidents have used throughout history for foreign policy reasons, for example to exert pressure on a certain country. In principle, TPS lacks such political connotations.

The DED will remain in force and Venezuelans can request either of the two permits, according to the aforementioned officials.

Biden joins the antichavism

After several months with the Venezuelan opposition divided, despite the insistence of Guaidó In the need for unity to achieve a political change in the country, the solution to the disagreements, at least momentary, came from the hand of the Biden Administration with the concession of TPS for Venezuelans.

The opposition leader thanked the president and the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, respectively, for the decision of his Government, which will give a break to the thousands of Venezuelans who live in the North American nation and who will be able to regularize their situation. “I thank the Government of the United States and in particular President Biden and Vice President Harris for this important step that recognizes the dignity and humanity of all Venezuelans,” says a statement signed by Guaidó, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by some countries, the US among them.

The opposition and former presidential candidate joined the gratitude through his Twitter account. Henrique Capriles, who, despite being very far from Guaidó’s proposals, today stood on the same side and stated that the decision of the US government “is a support and an example for others of the commitment to the Venezuelan cause.” “Thankful, and God always bless our Venezuelan brothers,” added Capriles.

And also Maria Corina Machado, founder of the political movement Vente Venezuela and openly opposed to Guaidó’s proposals, she welcomed the initiative of the Biden Executive and the “benefit” it represents for the beneficiaries. “The decision of the United States Government to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans living in that country is something that makes us happy, and above all because it is a cause that has had bipartisan support,” he said, also on his Twitter account. He recalled that “there are more than 300,000 Venezuelans who can benefit; they are people of work, talent and entrepreneurship who can also generate employment in that nation. It is the same logic that is added to the decision adopted by President (Iván) Duque (president of Colombia)”.

For its part, the Government chaired by Nicolas Maduro It has not spoken, so far, regarding the US decision.

What is TPS?

The TPS was created by the US Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990 to shelter people from countries suffering from armed conflict, natural disasters or extraordinary and temporary conditions and its concession is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, en English), after consultation with the Foreign Ministry.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the measure “is due to the extraordinary and temporary conditions existing in Venezuela, which prevent nationals from returning to their country safely.” He cites, among other reasons, “a complex humanitarian crisis, marked by widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression and a dilapidated infrastructure. ”

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said in a statement that “it is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals, who are currently present in the United States, while their country of origin seeks to recover from the current crises ”. People covered by TPS may request an employment authorization document (EAD) and a travel document.

El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have benefited from this protection in the past.

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