The Biden administration announced yesterday that it will start granting special status to Venezuelans living in the United States due to the well-documented fact that the country is enduring a dire humanitarian crisis. Indeed, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas designated Venezuela as eligible under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the safety and security of individuals fearing return to a country embroiled in extraordinary socio-political turmoil. Noteworthy is a tyrannical regime, under the toxic dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, characterized by widespread violence, lethal force, hunger, malnutrition, lack of access to medical care, and deprivation of basic human rights and freedoms. Carlos Vecchio, the Ambassador to the United States for the Venezuelan opposition, called it an “urgent and necessary” measure to protect victimized Venezuelans who were forced to flee their native country for their safety.

By way of history, TPS was created with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990 to provide temporary protections to foreign-born individuals in the United States for whom a return to their native country would be dangerous or impossible.  TPS is conferred on individuals who hail from countries undergoing armed conflict such as a Civil War, where there are environmental disasters, or where there are documented humanitarian crises. These TPS protections would help an estimated 320,000 Venezuelans living in the United States.

Immigration attorney Edward Shulman, founder of the Shulman Law Group, took the opportunity to thank Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for his efforts in leading the charge to designate Venezuela for TPS. Shulman noted that eligible Venezuelan applicants for TPS have a 180-day window in which to apply for these protections.  Specifically, the registration period begins today (March 9, 2021), and ends on September 5, 2021. In addition to conferring important protections against deportation, once a beneficiary is granted TPS, he or she is then authorized to work. Shulman encourages eligible Venezuelan applicants to seek legal consultation immediately given that there is a defined timeline.