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  • Writer's pictureJavier Vega

The tragic reality of venezuelan immigrants

Updated: Oct 25, 2021


Venezuelan immigrants at Rumichaca's bridge, located between Ecuador and Colombia. This is one of the main transit spots for venezuelan immigrants in Latin America.

The United States Institute for Peace (USIP) determined that Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian collapse as a result of deficient economic policies and an internal political conflict where the main objective of the regime is the permanence in power and the oppression of the opposition political movements.

As a consequence, the country has been immersed in a rise in inflation of basic necessities which has led to scarce food supply in addition to a rise in the rate of violent crimes, which has been exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic. This crisis has led Venezuelans to emigrate to other destinations in Latin America and the United States; becoming the second largest migration crisis in the world.

The main countries of destination for venezuelan migrants are Colombia, the United States, Spain, Chile and Ecuador, the first two being those that have granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as a temporary migratory benefit.

For the United States, on August 3, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, announced the extensions in the initial enrollment periods from 180 days to 18 months for initial applicants (new applicants), which expires on September 9 of 2022.

It should be noted that TPS does not grant any permanent status in the United States nor is it a step toward US citizenship. This is a temporary immigration status granted by the American government that can be revoked at any time.

However, according to data from the press agency EFE, the US Senate has rejected the inclusion of Venezuela within the TPS, inciting discontent among the Venezuelan-American population, mainly in Florida.

Following a poll released Tuesday by the Venezuelan American Alliance, about half of the 506 respondents (49%) said that Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott would lose their support if they oppose granting permanent immigration status to Venezuelans who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

"Although more Democrats will stop supporting these two senators than Republicans, it continues to be a bipartisan message for the political leadership in Florida," explained Eduardo Gamarra, professor at Florida International University (FIU) and who was in charge of conducting the poll.

Meanwhile in Latin America, Colombia authorized the issuance of TPS in its territory in March 2021 in order to regularize part of the 1.8 million Venezuelan citizens who are in Colombian territory. However, to date, according to data from the Colombian Migration Directorate, only 230,000 Venezuelan migrants have successfully completed their registration.

In Chile, on the other hand, on September 25, the Venezuelan migrant population suffered attacks by a group of Chilean protesters, who demanded the government to close the border; demanding an increase in insecurity and the removal from public spaces.

Radical protesters went as far as attacking a small camp for Venezuelan migrants in the city of Iquique, northern Chile and burned their few belongings in a barricade: tents, mattresses, bags, blankets, toys. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

Following these violent acts, nearly three thousand Chileans marched against the undocumented immigrants and the mismanagement of the migration crisis by the President Sebastian Piñera from Chile under the slogan "No more illegals," highlighting the widespread rejection of this vulnerable population.

According to the report of the Jesuit Service to Migrants (SJM), published in September of this year, until July 2021 the entry of Venezuelans through clandestine passages to Chile amounts to 23,673, almost 7,000 more than in all of last year.

Although the trend is in favor of the regularization of Venezuelan citizens, the main policy in Latin American countries continues to be the closure of the border. In Ecuador, the militarization of the border or “legal walls”, such as apostilled documents or high administrative fees, has made it difficult for migrants to regularize.

The Frontera Viva organization determined that about 60% of the more than 5.4 million Venezuelan migrants do not have papers, so the regularization of their migratory status is in uncertainty.

For its part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) revealed in May 2021 that 82% of foreigners who are in a situation of human mobility would be at risk if they had to return to their country.

How to apply for TPS in the United States?

(Source: United States Citizens and Immigration Services - USCIS)

On August 3, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, announced the extensions in the initial registration periods from 180 days to 18 months for initial applicants (new applicants) under the designations of Venezuela, Syria and Burma to the Status of Temporary Protection (TPS).

The 18-month registration period for initial applications under Venezuela's TPS designation now expires on September 9, 2022.

If you are applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under the designation of Venezuela for the first time, you can file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, online.

Only initial applicants from certain countries are eligible to file Form I-821 online. All other TPS applicants and current beneficiaries who will be re-enrolling under the extension of a TPS designation must continue to submit a paper Form I-821.

When submitting an initial TPS application, you can also request an Employment

Authorization Document (EAD) when submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization completed online, concurrently with your Form I-821.

Who are eligible?

Be a citizen of a country designated to TPS, or a person without nationality whose last habitual residence was in the designated country.

Submit the application during the initial enrollment or re-enrollment period, or meet the late application requirements during any extension of your country's designation to TPS. (People who apply for the first time and register late should see below the section ‘Late Application Submission)

Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of your country's most recent designation date

Have continuously resided (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country (see the TPS website for your country). The law allows an exception to the requirement of continuous physical presence and continuous residence, for short, casual and innocent departures outside the United States.

When you apply for or re-enroll in TPS, you must inform USCIS of all your absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine if the exception applies to you.

Disclaimer: This article doesn't constitute any legal advice. If you wish to get any legal consultation please contact The Allongo Law Firm.


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