Sep 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration to offer thousands of Venezuelans temporary protections

A line of migrants, mostly of Venezuelan descent,  waiting to enter shelter in Mexico as they await appointments through the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) one application.

Migrants stand in line for shelter as they await appointments with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in May. Photo: Christian Torres Chavez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to offer nearly a half-million Venezuelan nationals temporary permission to live and work in the country legally, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday night.

Driving the news: DHS plans to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelan migrants who arrived by July 31, 2023.

  • Venezuelans currently qualify for TPS if they arrived by March 8, 2021.
  • The department expects some 472,000 Venezuelans will become newly eligible for TPS under the latest designation.

Why it matters: Expanding who qualified for temporary protections was one of several asks politicians in blue states made to the Biden administration so migrants in shelter could start working sooner.

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called on the federal government to extend TPS for Venezuelans last week while she and other lawmakers visited the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, which is housing some 850 migrants families.

Flashback: Congress created TPS in 1990 to offer protections to migrants fleeing natural disasters or war in their home countries.

  • The protections typically last two years at a time, though the federal government has authorized TPS holders from various countries to renew their protections several times.

The big picture: More than 7.3 million people have fled Venezuela in recent years, according to the United Nations.

Go deeper: U.S. extends temporary protections for immigrants from 4 countries

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