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The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will grant temporary legal status to nearly half-a-million illegal immigrants from Venezuela so they can pursue work, citing political instability in their home country.
The Homeland Security Department announced the extension and redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, allowing 472,000 migrants who had arrived in the country as of July 31 to remain legally and work. The move was green-lighted by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Venezuelan migrants have accounted for a large portion of those who have crossed the border from Latin America in recent years.
"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," Mayorkas said in a statement. "That is the situation that Venezuelans who arrived here on or before July 31 of this year find themselves in. We are accordingly granting them the protection that the law provides.”
The department’s decision comes as the U.S. experiences a border crisis, caused by the Biden administration’s failed immigration enforcement, that has spilled over into many states and cities. New York City has struggled to accommodate a surge of roughly 100,000 migrants since the spring of 2022, having no choice but to house them in repurposed hotels, psychiatric centers, and other shelters across the five boroughs and in neighboring suburbs. Mayor Eric Adams and New York governor Kathy Hochul, often blaming the other for the sanctuary city being overwhelming by the inflow, had been urging the federal government to grant NYC’s migrants legal status so they can obtain employment and relieve some strain on the city’s resources.
“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,” Adams said Wednesday.
About 242,700 Venezuelans were covered under the TPS designation before Wednesday’s update, which could make another 472,000 migrants eligible. The redesignation protects the migrants from deportation and gives them employment authorization. It’s unclear how the government will select which migrants will be granted TPS.
Another existing program created by the administration allows roughly 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to obtain authorization to live and work in the United States for two years if they have a financial sponsor and clear background checks. The parole program allows applicants to enter the U.S. via flight, rather than crossing at the border.
Since September began, border crossings have been increasing steadily, two Department of Homeland Security officials told NBC News. Border Patrol apprehended over 7,500 migrants on Sunday alone. In the last day, over 10,000 migrants were encountered at the border, including 8,500 by Border Patrol and 1,600 at Customs and Border Protection ports of entry, CBP sources told Fox News.
Eagle Pass, Texas declared a state of emergency as a flood of illegal immigrants, which Fox News’ correspondent Bill Melugin said were predominantly Venezuelans, poured into the city on Wednesday. A massive migrant caravan crossed the Rio Grande in the last 24-hours, with many individuals gathering under the bridge in Eagle Pass, a source with the Texas Department of Public Safety told ABC News 7.
The large migrant influx into the interior indicates the Biden administration’s new policies, including one that allows migrants to apply for asylum from their home countries via an app, are not deterring mass migration. In April, the Biden administration said it was preparing for the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era Covid rule that allowed authorities to expel migrants to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, by trying to “expand legal pathways” to admit more illegal aliens.
The Biden administration may soon rollout its new ICE Secure Docket Card program, which will modernize the documentation given to illegal immigrants when they enter the country. On a sample card is a picture of the illegal immigrant, a QR code, and other identifying information, according to leaked copies obtained by Fox News.
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