Watch CBS News

Venezuelan migrant hopes to "start new life" in Mass. after Biden grants temporary legal status

Venezuelan migrant hopes to "start new life" after Biden grants temporary legal status
Venezuelan migrant hopes to "start new life" after Biden grants temporary legal status 03:04

BOSTON - Twenty-five-year-old Carlos has been trying to earn some money as a barber in the Boston area after arriving in Massachusetts from Venezuela a little over a year ago. But what he really needs is work authorization.

"The process is frustrating for me. I need to move forward to get more opportunity and I need to find a job," he said through an interpreter.

That work permitting process could be expedited now that President Biden is giving temporary legal status to nearly 500,000 Venezuelans already in the United States making them eligible to work.

"He only wants an opportunity to get regular papers, the documents to start a new life in the United States," Carlos said through the interpreter.

Speeding up the work permitting process for migrants has been an urgent plea from Governor Maura Healey. In Massachusetts there are some 22,000 individuals in hotels and shelters and about half are migrants.

She says this action is only a step. "The action by the Biden Administration, while appreciated, is limited in terms of its reach," Healey said. "We need the Administration to do what I asked for and we need Congress as well."

Healey says Massachusetts is overwhelmed by migrants from several countries and is asking for federal money and work authorizations for many more after declaring a state of emergency and calling up the National Guard to assist.

"We're going to continue to press for congressional action. It's a failure of Congress to deal with immigration reform that leads to so many of these problems," said Healey.

As for Carlos, he says walked through as many as six countries and even spent two days on top of a train to get to the U.S. border. If he can finally work legally, he can fulfill his dream. "He chose the United States because he believes this is a very good country for opportunity," his interpreter said.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.