The Biden administration on Monday announced it would be offering Temporary Protection Status to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens from Venezuela currently living in the United States, saying it’s “unsafe” for them to return home given the impoverished socialist country’s current conditions.
According to reports, up to 300,000 Venezuelans would qualify for the program, meaning that on top of gaining at least some form of legal status that protects them from deportation, they’d be eligible for many state-funded benefits, driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers and work permits. If those 300,000 are added to the TPS rolls, it would nearly double the number of TPS-protected aliens currently living in the U.S. which currently stands at about 400,000 per the Immigration Forum.
According to the LA Times, the administration’s decision “applies to undocumented Venezuelan immigrants who have been living in the U.S. as of Monday.” Those who want TPS status must apply and pay the fees within the next six months.
By law and based on its original intent, Temporary Protection Status is supposed to apply to people living temporarily in the U.S. who find themselves unable to return home due to a war, natural disaster, or some other cataclysmic event that occurred while they were out of the country (if a tsunami or earthquake levels half a nation, for instance). However, the program has largely become a catch-all measure used by various administrations to apply to any country for any reason they want. For instance, the Biden administration is currently extending TPS protections to Venezuela on account of the Central American nation’s “humanitarian crisis” – which is hardly new for the socialist dictatorship and unlikely to end anytime soon, but includes widespread poverty, hunger and disease.
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The administration also says it will offer the protections via Executive Order instead of pushing the measure through Congress, making the decision a highly subjective one that's not directly accountable to the American people.
“The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”
Whenever that might be.
Because while Temporary Protected Status might have “temporary” right there in the title, there’s hardly anything temporary about the program. For example, the United States designated Sudan for TPS status in 1997, meaning those Sudanese already living in the U.S. could stay until the designation was lifted. It never was.
Nicaraguans and Hondurans were granted TPS status in 1999, while El Salvador was given the designation in 2001. Haitians have been under TPS protection since 2011. Designations are re-upped by the federal government every 6 to 18 months if the administration determines it’s still not safe for TPS recipients to return to their home country. Oftentimes, the terminate of a country’s TPS designation is blocked in court, making it difficult to end the protections once they’ve been granted.
Counting the new addition of Venezuela, 11 countries currently sit on the United States’ list of TPS–designated nations.
The program is also used heavily by the left to push for eventual citizenship for those who’ve lived under TPS for years, citing the fact that their families have put down roots in the United States and it’s immoral to ask them to go back to their home country after decades of living here. Critics have long blasted the supposedly provisional and heavily subjective program as a back-door policy to grant permanent legal status to aliens with no other legal claim to being in the United States.