Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet ask DHS Sec to Support Extending TPS Eligibility for Venezuelan Nationals

Jan 23, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet requested U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas extend the eligibility date for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelan nationals currently living in the United States.

Currently, DHS’s Temporary Protected Status for Venezuela only applies to Venezuelan nationals who arrived before March 9th, 2021. It does not apply to those who have arrived in the almost two years since, including over 4,000 migrants who have come to Colorado since December 2022.

“The ongoing humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela has led to widespread violence, political persecution, food and medicine shortages, and other systemic collapses in vital infrastructure… However, the thousands of Venezuelan nationals who have continued to arrive since the July 2022 TPS designation are ineligible for protection despite having fled those same conditions,” wrote the senators.

“In light of this situation and your recognition of the danger Venezuelans could face should they return, we strongly urge you to extend Venezuela’s TPS designation to include Venezuelan nationals residing in the United States prior to January 23, 2023.”

Text of the letter is available HERE and below.

Dear Secretary Mayorkas,

We write to request that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela. Specifically, we request that eligibility be extended for Venezuelan nationals residing in the United States on or before January 23, 2023.

The ongoing humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela has led to widespread violence, political persecution, food and medicine shortages, and other systemic collapses in vital infrastructure. An estimated 7.1 million Venezuelan refugees have fled the country since the crisis began.[1]

In July 2022, DHS extended Venezuela’s designation for TPS for 18-months supporting Venezuelans who arrived in the United States prior to March 9th, 2021 and providing them with work authorization and protection from deportation through March 10th, 2024. As evidenced by this decision, your agency has acknowledged that current conditions make it unsafe for displaced Venezuelans to return to the country.

However, the thousands of Venezuelan nationals who have continued to arrive since the July 2022 TPS designation are ineligible for protection despite having fled those same conditions. This includes over 4,000 migrants who have arrived in Colorado since December 2022. While your agency recently implemented a new Parole Process for Venezuelans, many of these individuals began the months-long journey from Venezuela prior to this program becoming available.

In light of this situation and your recognition of the danger Venezuelans could face should they return, we strongly urge you to extend Venezuela’s TPS designation to include Venezuelan nationals residing in the United States prior to January 23, 2023.

As you know, the situation at the border is a symptom of our broken immigration system. We look forward to working with the administration on comprehensive immigration reform that includes common sense steps to secure the border and a legal pathway for DREAMers, TPS recipients, and essential workers.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

__________________________

[1] https://www.r4v.info/en/refugeeandmigrants

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