The Associated Press reported that the administration’s move will make an estimated 320,000 Venezuelans — many of whom live in Florida — eligible for legal status. The temporary protected status will last until September of next year, and the administration is also reportedly reconsidering U.S. sanctions on Venezuela.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Venezuela is in “turmoil” and “unable to protect its own citizens.”
“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,” Mayorkas commented.
The administration contended that “widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure” in the Central American nation rendered it necessary to allow illegal aliens to remain in the states rather than face the specter of deportation.
“[Temporary Protective Status] 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,” DHS explained in a press statement.
Those who desire to apply for the temporary legal designation have 180 days in which to file their applications and will be required to show that they resided continuously in the U.S. as of Monday.
Applicants will also have to cooperate with background investigations and other security measures, per the DHS.
The directive reflects a broader immigration philosophy that the White House is implementing — one that a bipartisan set of elected officials contend is sharply impacting Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference on Tuesday in Mission, appearing with the Texas National Guard, and the National Border Patrol Council, and Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The governor accused the Biden administration of implementing policies that are “helping cartels make more money.”
“Cartels — they are ramping up trafficking across the border, they are exploiting women and children, and they are overwhelming border patrol resources,” Abbott said.
The governor also criticized the White House for not proactively vaccinating U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel, saying it is the “epitome of inhumanity” that border patrol agents lack coronavirus vaccines. He contended that border patrol agents should be prioritized the same as other federal employees.
DHS supports giving illegal aliens the same access to vaccines as Americans, calling it a “moral and public health imperative.”