Carlos* was warned that he would go to prison if he returned to Venezuela.

He was a civil servant and researcher for the Venezuelan Scientific Police for almost twenty years. While seconded to Interpol, he investigated cases of drug trafficking, murders and financial crimes.

He says that in the latest case he arrested two Venezuelans who committed digital scams in the United States and Venezuela. But because they had ties to the Venezuelan government, he said he was ordered to release them and not report the investigation to Interpol.

“I left Venezuela because I could no longer tolerate the threats and humiliations”, he assures. “I had to leave my wife and two daughters behind.”

Carlos entered the United States in March on his tourist visa. For the past six months, he has been living off his savings and selling goods in Venezuela, without the ability to work legally because he is undocumented.

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However, President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to allow this Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for almost half a million Venezuelans It opened the way for him to work legally.

“This measure is a blessing because it allows me to process my asylum application and at the same time work to earn money and take my family with me,” he told BBC Mundo.

Hundreds of migrants line up in New York to formalize their asylum claims. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

TPS provides temporary relief from deportation and access to work permits for 18 months to 472,000 Venezuelans who entered the United States until July 31 of this year.

Those who arrived after that date “will be deported if it is determined that they do not have a legal basis to remain,” US Secretary of Homeland Security Al clarified in a statement.Ejandro Mayorkas.

TPS “provides people already in the United States with protection from removal when conditions in their home country prevent their safe return,” Mayorkas said.

“That is the situation that Venezuelans who arrived here on July 31 of this year or earlier find themselves.”

This is the largest grant of this immigration status to citizens of the same nationality in the United States.almost doubling the 243,000 Venezuelans who already have this status as of 2021.

To understand the importance of the massive granting of TPS to almost half a million Venezuelans, we must look at the previous figures: so far 610,000 migrants of 16 nationalities, including Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguanswork under this status in the United States, according to the National Migration Forum organization.

That figure will nearly double with the new TPS intended only for Venezuelansrepresenting the majority of migrants currently arriving in the United States.

These migrants escape the economic, social, and political situation of Venezuela or other countries where they lived before beginning the journey to the United States.

The figure also shows the Biden administration’s support for Venezuelan migrants, for whom it created a legal process about a year ago to arrive in the country by plane, which requires a sponsor legally resident in the country. lives in the United States.

The measure was announced by US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

“A golden opportunity”

John de La Vega, an attorney specializing in immigration law in the United States, believes TPS “will have a tremendous positive impact for tens of thousands of Venezuelans in asylum claims, deportation proceedings or appeals.”

“The government has realized that due to the delays in immigration courts in asylum cases, Providing this protection speeds up Venezuelans’ ability to both legalize and process a work permit.”.

However, he warns that it is important to advise Venezuelans who could benefit from TPS, as thousands have refrained from applying for this immigration status in 2021 due to a lack of knowledge of English and US law.

“We must now focus on explaining to Venezuelans, especially those living in more vulnerable conditions, that this is a golden opportunity that they should take advantage of,” said Helene Villalonga, a Venezuelan activist for the human rights of migrants in the state of Florida.

“They need to understand that TPS is an insurance policy, a guarantee that they will not be deported.”

Villalonga believes this decision could deter many Venezuelans from immigrating to the United States during the remainder of the year, as those arriving after July 31 will not receive the status.

On the contrary, activist Patricia Andrade, director of the organization Venezuela Awareness Foundationfears that the TPS will encourage the arrival of more Venezuelan migrants, with the expectation that a new executive order will be passed that will benefit them in the future.

We see that the southern border is full of Venezuelan migrants. They have nowhere to go, so for many the best option is to enter the United States, even if irregularly.”

A Venezuelan migrant with her children in Texas. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The pressure of New York

The Biden administration’s decision mainly responds to pressure from New York Mayor Eric Adams and Democratic lawmakers, given the arrival of more than 100,000 migrants to the city over the past year. It is estimated that about half are Venezuelans.

This flow unleashed a crisis that forced tens of thousands of migrants to be housed in more than 200 hotels, shelters, tents and other facilities.

Andrew Heinrich leads the Rousseau Project, an initiative that provides assistance to migrants and promotes education among youth in underserved areas of New York.

In his twelve years of working with migrant communities I had never seen a situation like that of the Venezuelans in New York before.

“We believe the TPS will have a tremendous impact in relieving the pressure that the arrival of Venezuelan migrants has placed on the city’s immigration, social and educational services,” he said from New York.

In recent months, Adams launched a pamphlet campaign to persuade migrants to leave for other cities and offered to set up a shelter for 2,000 people, the largest migrant shelter ever to exist in the city.

New York Mayor Eric Adams has been demanding help from the federal government for months to deal with the immigration crisis. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Adams blamed the federal and state governments for not providing enough aid to New York to provide housing and other social services to newcomers.

Under the slogan “Make them work,” Adams and other Democratic leaders called for more budgets for migrant aid and the construction of new infrastructure.

“I want to thank President Biden for listening to our coalition, including our congressional delegation, and for taking this important step that will bring hope to the thousands of Venezuelan asylum seekers currently in our care,” the mayor said last week in response the call. decision.

In a joint statement, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Leader Hakeem Jeffries, both of New York, said The measure is a “welcome step” that will “provide much-needed relief to New York systems struggling to support newly arrived migrants.”.

“The decision will also significantly reduce costs to New York taxpayers related to housing asylum seekers,” the statement said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that while there is “more work to do,” state officials are prepared to “immediately” begin the process of “registering people to work and giving them jobs so they can be self-sufficient.”

New York authorities waged an intensive campaign to demand Biden’s support. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Venezuelans in American politics

New York is a ‘sanctuary city’as is known to be the places where laws were passed to protect the rights of undocumented migrants.

Therefore, authorities are obliged to provide assistance to all migrants who need it.

States led by Republican governors in the south of the country have sent thousands of migrants to Democratic-run cities in protest against border policy, which they criticize as lax and for which they hold Biden responsible.

In fact, Last October, Adams declared a state of emergency in New York. as shelters began filling with migrants arriving on buses after crossing the border into Texas or Arizona.

Republican leaders claim the move is aimed at increasing pressure on Biden to tighten the blockade on the United States’ southern border and prevent the entry of migrants from Mexico.

Republicans are celebrating the apparent success of their political maneuver as Democrats like Mayor Adams have joined the chorus of criticism and calls for help from the Biden administration in Washington.

The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that more than seven million people have left Venezuela in recent years. due to the collapse of the economy under the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

Many of these Venezuelans are in the United States, which has become the ideal destination, and therefore they are even willing to risk their lives on a difficult journey through Latin America, through the dangerous Darién Gap, Central America and Mexico until reaching the border.

Venezuelans are leading an immigration push that has made them a topic of national politics in the United States.

Republicans are attacking the Democratic president, and now Democrats themselves are demanding action in the face of a wave of migrants that is pushing the resources of cities and states to their limits.

With just over a year to go until the elections, Biden is responding with the largest grant of work permits in history through the TPS, recognizing the crisis experienced in some parts of the country and responding to the demands of Venezuelan migrants, who now They will be able to work to provide for themselves. (JO)

*His true identity was changed to protect him from retaliation.