The US Department of Homeland Security cleared the way for more Venezuelan migrants to get work permits Wednesday by expanding Temporary Protected Status to refugee seekers who fled the tumultuous country for the US.
An 18-month extension to the program, as well as the new inclusion of more recent border-crossers, was announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas after New York officials pleaded with President Biden for help addressing the migrant crisis in NYC.
Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke to Biden about the crisis and potential solutions Tuesday night, while the president visited the Big Apple this week.
“After my productive conversation with President Biden last night, I’m grateful the federal government has acted so speedily to grant one of our top priorities: providing Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan asylum seekers and migrants who have already arrived in this country,” she said in a statement.
“There’s more work to do as we address this crisis, but the state of New York is prepared to immediately begin the process of signing people up for work authorization and getting them into jobs so they can become self-sufficient.”
She said she had been pushing for more than a year to get Venezuelans the temporary protective status that allows them to work in the US.
Around 41% of the migrants who have come to NYC from the southern border are Venezuelans, according to City Hall data released last month. More than 110,000 migrants in total have entered New York City since spring 2022.
DHS’s expansion of the program grants the status to Venezuelan nationals who were in the US before July 31, 2023. It previously only applied to those who arrived before March 2021.
“It is critical that Venezuelans understand that those who have arrived here after July 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.
Mayorkas said the extension and expansion of the protective status was warranted “due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent individuals from safely returning.”
The status also protects eligible migrants from deportation.