Biden extends TPS for Venezuelans

President Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden speaks as he meets with Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.
Associated Press/Susan Walsh

The Joe Biden administration on Wednesday announced the extension and redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months “due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent individuals from safely returning.”

After reviewing the country conditions in Venezuela and consulting with interagency partners, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said he determined that an 18-month TPS extension and redesignation are “warranted based on Venezuela’s increased instability and lack of safety due to the enduring humanitarian, security, political and environmental conditions.

“This redesignation provides temporary protection from removal, as well as employment authorization for individuals in the United States before July 31, 2023,” he said. “Temporary protected status provides individuals already present in the United States with protection from removal when the conditions in their home country prevent their safe return.

“That is the situation that Venezuelans who arrived here on or before July 31 of this year find themselves in,” he added. “We are accordingly granting them the protection that the law provides. However, it is critical that Venezuelans understand that those who have arrived here after Jul. 31, 2023 are not eligible for such protection, and, instead, will be removed when they are found to not have a legal basis to stay.”

Mayorkas said applicants for TPS under this redesignation must demonstrate that they are Venezuelan nationals, or individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuelan, who have been continuously residing in the United States since July 31, 2023 and meet other eligibility criteria.

He said the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to process pending applications filed under the previous TPS designation for Venezuela.

Mayorkas said individuals with a pending Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, or a related Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, as of the date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice, do not need to file either application again.

“If USCIS approves a pending Form I-821 or Form I-765 filed under the previous designation of TPS for Venezuela, USCIS will grant the individual TPS and issue an EAD valid through the same date,” he said, referring to Employment Authorization Designation.

Under the redesignation of Venezuela,” Mayorkas said eligible individuals who do not have TPS may submit an  Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the initial registration period, which will be specified in a forthcoming Federal Register notice.

He said applicants also may apply for TPS-related EADs and for travel authorization.

“Applicants can request an EAD by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821, or separately later,” the US Secretary of Homeland Security said.

He said there are currently approximately 242,700 TPS beneficiaries under Venezuela’s existing TPS designation.

He also said there are an additional approximately 472,000 nationals of Venezuela who may be eligible under the redesignation of Venezuela.

Mayorkas said the forthcoming Federal Register notice will explain eligibility criteria, timelines, and procedures necessary for current beneficiaries to re-register and renew EADs, and for new applicants to submit an initial application under the redesignation and apply for an EAD.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has welcomed Biden’s decision to extend and redesignate TPS for Venezuelan asylum seekers in the country who entered the United States before July 31, 2023.

Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Guatemalans are among asylum seekers who, in recent times, have been coming to New York after entering the US through the southern borders.

“More than 116,000 asylum seekers have come to New York City since last spring in search of the American Dream. Our administration and our partners across the city have led the calls to ‘Let Them Work,’ so I want to thank President Biden for hearing our entire coalition, including our hard-working congressional delegation, and taking this important step that will bring hope to the thousands of Venezuelan asylum seekers currently in our care who will now be immediately eligible for Temporary Protected Status,” said Adams Wednesday night.

“I personally spoke to the White House tonight to hear about this development and express my gratitude and support for this important decision that we have been advocating for since April,” he added. “I am hopeful that we can continue to partner with President Biden to extend Temporary Protected Status to the tens of thousands of other migrants in our care from other countries.

“And I look forward to continued work with our state and federal partners to deliver relief for asylum seekers and longtime New Yorkers with a national decompression strategy and expedited work authorizations, so those entering our city and our country can provide for themselves and finally have a shot at living out the American Dream,” the mayor added.

In April, as Republican leaders in the US Congress continue to refuse to provide any support for cities or states that have seen a mass influx of asylum seekers, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, members of the Adams administration and elected officials urged the Biden administration to immediately enhance paths to work authorization for asylum seekers currently in the US and those who continue to arrive every day.

“As a city, we have done everything in our power to provide support to the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who have arrived at our doorstep,” said Adams at the time. “While New York City has shouldered the costs of this crisis largely alone, we have always said that this is a national crisis that requires a coordinated, comprehensive response from the federal government.

“To deny people the ability to work legally sets them up for failure,” he added. “The actions we’re urging our federal partners to do, all of which can be done without support from the Republican leaders in Congress who refuse to do their jobs, will ensure that asylum seekers in New York City, and across the country, can do what they came here to do — work lawfully and build stable lives.”

“For almost a year, asylum seekers have arrived in New York City to escape hardship and start their lives,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “However, until they have an opportunity for safe, legal work, they will continue to be at a standstill. This administration is urging our federal partners to act now and make sure asylum seekers have a fair shot at success in our country, starting with providing a path to work authorization.”

“The message from the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who have arrived to New York City has been clear — we want to work,” said Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Trinidadian-born Camille Joseph Varlack. “Asylum seekers want to contribute to New York City and the country, but until the federal government grants them the opportunity for legal work, they’ll be denied that opportunity.

“We are urging our federal partners to do what’s right and create a path forward for asylum seekers to safely enter our economy and start their American Dream,” she added.