US extends protections to Venezuelans — RT World News

The decision could exclude up to 250,000 migrants who arrived in the United States after March 2021

The Joe Biden administration extended temporary legal protections to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who fled their home countries, allowing them to legally live and work in the United States for another 18 months.

The Department of Homeland Security announced the move on Monday, with DHS Chief Alejandro Mayorkas saying Temporary Protected Status granted last year would be extended an additional 18 months for some 343,000 immigrants.

“This action is one of many ways the Biden administration is providing humanitarian support to Venezuelans at home and abroad, in collaboration with our regional partners,” Mayorkas said.

However, the renewed legal protections will only apply to those who arrived in the country before March 2021, when the last extension was approved by the White House, meaning that up to 250,000 Venezuelans who have emigrated since could be turned back.

As Senate Democrats urged the administration to grant protected status to more recent arrivals, 22 lawmakers pointed out “deeply disturbing conditions” in Venezuela in an open letter published last Friday, a source quoted by Reuters said that the White House fears that “to encourage more irregular migration”.

Officials had a deadline Monday to decide whether the protections would be extended. They were previously due to expire in September, but will now be in place until March 2024.

According to the United Nations, more than 6 million Venezuelans have fled their country due to instability, violence and lack of opportunity, describing the situation as one of the biggest displacement crises in the world. The government in Caracas remains under heavy US sanctions for alleged abuses, although the Biden administration has said it is considering easing some of the sanctions if President Nicolas Maduro agrees to meet with opposition figures.

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