MIAMI - Almost half a million Venezuelans in the U.S. will now be eligible for protection from deportation and will be able to request a work permit after the Biden administration expanded the Temporary Protection Status for Venezuela, known as TPS.
"I want to take advantage of this opportunity which would give me stability in this wonderful country," said Juan José Cabrera, who came to the U.S. through the parole program, but fears it could disappear. He plans to apply for TPS.
The Department of Homeland Security redesignated the program for Venezuelan migrants in which more than 470,000 people would benefit.
"Because of the circumstances in my homeland, the political repression of the Maduro regime, we see no other choice but to leave," said Cabrera.
However, Venezuelans who are now crossing the southern border into the U.S. do not qualify for TPS. The Biden Administration established as a prerequisite that migrants must have been in the U.S. as of July 31st of this year and cannot have a criminal record.
"Venezuelans received the first designation of TPS in 2021," said immigration attorney Maureen Porras.
She said more than 240,000 Venezuelans benefitted from the first TPS program which ended in March 2023.
"This is only temporary status, it by itself does not lead to a permanent residency, and they have to renew the permit every year or so," said Porras.
Last month at Arepazo Restaurant in Doral, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan activists urged the Biden Administration to redesignate the program for migrants who are already in the U.S. and fled their countries of origin because of political repression.
"We applaud expediting the process of work authorization," said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, referring to the decision of the Biden administration.
Levine Cava said Miami-Dade is home to the highest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S. She also said that with work permits, many of these people who ran from repression could fill up many work positions open in the county.
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