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Biden administration offers temporary protected status to Venezuelans living illegally in US

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The decision impacts roughly 300,000 people

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration has offered temporary protected status to Venezuelan nationals illegally residing the U.S., a decision that could make more than 300,000 aliens safe from deportation until September 2022.

What are the details?

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Monday that Venezuelans who can show residence in the U.S. as of Monday, March 8, may apply for temporary protected status and employment authorization documents for 18 months. The agency added that "for their own health and safety, individuals should not believe smugglers or others claiming the border is now open. Due to the pandemic, travel and admission restrictions at the border remain in place."

The news release explained:

This designation is due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent nationals from returning safely, including a complex humanitarian crisis marked by widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure. TPS can be extended to a country with conditions that fall into one, or more, of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.

""The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens," Mayorkas said in a statement. "It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises."

A senior official told reporters ahead of the statement that the decree impacts roughly 320,000 people, CBS News reported, noting that fees associated with the application process cost $545.

What's the background?

The outlet reported:

Republican and Democratic administrations have sought to isolate the increasingly authoritarian government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who has managed to hold on to power despite a political challenge mounted by Juan Guaidó, who the U.S. and other Western countries have recognized as the country's legitimate interim president.

In 2019, President Donald Trump hit Maduro with a complete economic embargo, and so far, the Biden administration "is in no rush to lift sanctions," according to the White House.

The Daily Caller pointed out that Trump "never handed down a TPS designation for Venezuela, but deferred all deportations for Venezuelans living in the country for 18 months during his final days in office."

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