Biden admin extends immigration protections to Venezuelan migrants, including thousands in NYC

Biden admin extends immigration protections to Venezuelan migrants, including thousands in NYC

By Jon Campbell | Gothamist | September 20, 2023

An estimated 472,000 Venezuelan migrants — including tens of thousands in New York City — will receive protection from deportation and be eligible to receive work permits under a new action announced Wednesday evening by the Biden administration.

The Department of Homeland Security will extend and re-designate Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan migrants who have been living continuously in United States as of July 31, 2023, a move that will allow them to legally work without having to wait the typical 180 days required to those who applied for asylum.

The move follows months of pleas from Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams, who have repeatedly asked President Joe Biden to expand the designation to allow more Venezuelans to legally work in the United States.

By allowing more migrants to legally work, city and state officials are hopeful that more will be able to find their own housing and move out of the city’s overwhelmed system of temporary and permanent homeless shelters.

“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,” Hochul said in a statement late Wednesday following the federal announcement.

Adams said he spoke with the White House on Wednesday night to express his gratitude for the move.

“More than 116,000 asylum seekers have come to New York City since last spring in search of the American Dream,” Adams said in a statement. “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.”

As of the end of July, about 40% of the more than 100,000 migrants arriving in New York City had come from Venezuela since the spring of 2022, according to City Hall.

Also Read: Mayor Adams’ Statement on President Biden’s Extension and Redesignation of Venezuelan Asylum Seekers for Temporary Protected Status

Also Read: Immigrant Advocates Applaud TPS Re-Designation for Venezuelans, Granting Newest NYers Immigration Relief & Work Authorization

Also Read: Statements from Speaker Adams and New York Immigration Coalition on Biden Administration’s Extension and Re-Designation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status

Also Read: The Biden administration extends TPS protection for Venezuelans

Also Read: Clarke Issues Statement on TPS for Venezuelans

Adams held a news conference in April to formally call on Biden to extend TPS protections, saying that to “deny people the ability to work legally sets them up for failure.”

Hochul discussed the influx of migrant arrivals with Biden late Tuesday at a United Nations reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Earlier Wednesday, she declined to get into specifics of their conversation, but reiterated her support for expanding TPS protections for Venezuelans.

“Our slogan is: Let them work,” Hochul told reporters. “Work authorization is critically important, and an area we’ve been talking about for a long time is, for example, Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans.”

The federal expansion will apply primarily to those Venezuelan migrants who arrived in the U.S. between March 2021 and July 2023.

Previously, the federal TPS protections had only applied to those Venezuelans who had been in the U.S. continuously as of March 2021, leaving out hundreds of thousands of migrants who since fled the South American country ruled by an authoritarian regime.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Kim.

This story has been updated with comment from Mayor Eric Adams.

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