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A Venezuelan migrant in Mexico sleeps under his flag on the journey to the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images.
A Venezuelan migrant in Mexico sleeps under his flag on the journey to the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images.

Biden admin extends TPS status for Venezuelans, but still leaves many out

Only those who arrived by the last March 8, 2021 deadline are eligible for the extension.

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Approximately 343,000 Venezuelans who received Temporary Protected Status  (TPS) in March of 2021 are eligible to remain under the program for another 18 months, until March 10, 2024, after the Biden administration announced an extension on Monday, July 11.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said it was “one of the many ways” the Biden administration was providing “humanitarian support” to Venezuelans in the U.S. and abroad, but advocates are pointing to a detail that very much limits who gets the new extension.

Only those Venezuelans that arrived before the initial TPS status deadline of March 8, 2021, are eligible for the new 18-month extension. Anyone that arrived after that date, between March 9, 2021 and July 11, 2022 are now mired in uncertainty surrounding their status in the U.S.

It is estimated that those now in that circumstance number in the hundreds of thousands

Venezuela has seen some of the most economic turmoil of the last decade after being one of Latin America’s richest countries on the back of having the most oil reserves of any country in the world. It also still has the highest inflation rate in the world, and it’s created an environment where poverty, corruption and crime hits unprecedented levels.

None of that is helped by the current lack of contact between the Biden administration and Venezuela’s under President Nicolás Maduro. Both sides have resorted to name-calling and adverse foreign policy maneuvers on a global scale. 

While the U.S. levels sanctions against the already destitute Venezuelan economy and disregards election results in the country, Maduro strikes back by attacking the U.S.’s imperialist tendencies.

Caught in the middle of the politicking are the Venezuelan people, and more than 6 million have fled the country to take refuge in other countries around the world.

In the U.S., more than half a million Venezuelan migrants have arrived in the last two decades, settling in Florida in addition to common urban centers. like New York City.

In Florida especially, this population has been one Biden has attempted to play a balancing act with in efforts of appealing to voters. The verdict is out on how effective the stance will be, considering Republicans also accuse Biden of being a socialist to appeal to the same population, bringing back fears of the country they left behind.

By extending TPS status for another 18 months, Biden is playing the other side of that pendulum. It's another temporary solution that will need review in another 18 months should no significant immigration reform be passed by Congress. 

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