The Biden administration granted protections to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans amid a surge in illegal immigration at the southern border and stresses on cities across the country, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced late Wednesday.
The program will allow 242,700 an existing temporary protection designation in addition to roughly 472,000 Venezuelans expected to qualify for the new designation to receive work permits and stay in the U.S. without fear of removal, DHS said. Venezuelans qualifying for the program must have arrived before July 31.
“Temporary protected status provides individuals already present in the United States with protection from removal when the conditions in their home country prevent their safe return,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in Wednesday’s announcement.
“That is the situation that Venezuelans who arrived here on or before July 31 of this year find themselves in. We are accordingly granting them the protection that the law provides. However, it is critical that Venezuelans understand that those who have arrived here after July 31, 2023 are not eligible for such protection, and instead will be removed when they are found to not have a legal basis to stay,” Mayorkas added.
Border Patrol recorded more than 1.6 million illegal crossings at the southern border between October 2022 and July and a record 2.2 million in fiscal year 2022, according to federal data.
Meanwhile, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul asked the Biden administration for expedited work permits to help the state with the roughly 60,000 migrants in its care.
Eagle Pass, Texas, Mayor Rolando Salinas Jr., who serves roughly 28,000 residents along the southern border, issued an emergency declaration Tuesday after the arrival of a few thousand migrants, according to the announcement.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
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