Thousands of Venezuelan immigrants have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as of March 8, 2021. As many as 320,000 Venezuelans now have 18-months time to live and work with no threat of being deported. The Biden administration felt it was important to grant TPS because Venezuela has become quite dangerous for its citizens under President Nicolás Maduro.
What Is Temporary Protected Status?
According to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.” TPS protects eligible groups from being detained by DHS on the basis of immigration status, they cannot be removed from the United States, they may be granted travel authorization, and they can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD).
The Current State of Venezuela
Venezuela’s collapse is said to be “the worst outside of war in decades.” Economists say that the reason for the fall of what once was one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries is due to “poor governance, corruption, and misguided policies of President Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez.” Venezuela held steady as a democracy since 1958. However, corruption crept in and Mr. Chávez passed a new Constitution, purged government jobs, and reduced potential checks on his authority. Now under Mr. Maduro, Venezuela is seen as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with up to 94% of its citizens living in poverty, according to a report from the United Nations, which investigated “gross violations of humans rights, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including those involving sexual and gender-based violence, committed since 2014.”
Venezuelans Currently Living in America
With Venezuela being a country currently in turmoil, the Biden administration felt the need to take steps toward supporting Venezuelans who are currently present in the United States. The new protections would be offered to Venezuelans who have proof that they have been living in the United States as of March 8, 2021. This cutoff date is meant to discourage smugglers from encouraging other Venezuelans from relocating after this protection is set since the Biden administration will already have a difficult time accommodating thousands of Central American migrants.
What Are the TPS Eligibility Requirements?
According to the USCIS website, the requirements for TPS include:
- You must file for TPS during the open initial registration or re-registration period or meet the requirements for late initial filing.
- You must be a national of a country designated for TPS or have habitually resided in a designated country if you have no official nationality.
- You must have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country.
- You must have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.
Some people may not be eligible for TPS if:
- You have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States.
- You fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements.
- You are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds.
- You are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity.
- You fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements.
- If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.
Get Help Registering for Temporary Protected Status
To apply for Temporary Protected Status as a Venezuelan, you must register between March 9, 2021, and September 5, 2021. You must have been a continuous resident in the United States since March 8, 2021, and have had a continuous physical presence in the United States since March 9, 2021. Be on the lookout for unauthorized practitioners who may claim they can file TPS forms. Only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice. Novo Legal is a law firm in Colorado with a team of experts in immigration law. If you need assistance registering for Temporary Protected Status, call Novo Legal today at 303-335-0250 or visit our website to contact an immigration attorney.