Venezuelans Granted Temporary Legal Status

On his last full day in office, President Donald Trump provided Venezuelan exiles protection from deportation through the Deferred Enforced Departure program, also known as DED. Through this program, Venezuelans who flee the country due to the humanitarian crisis sparked by the Nicolás Maduro regime may receive temporary legal status. Deferred enforcement has been granted for 18 months and work authorization will be granted to those Venezuelans who qualify.

Understanding the Last-Minute Move

Unlike Temporary Protected Status, also known as TPS, those granted protection through DED receive it directly through the president rather than the Department of Homeland Security. The decision to use DED originates from the worry Republicans have of TPS serving as a pathway toward permanent residency in the country. Unlike TPS, DED gives the president the ability to end these protections without any significant procedural obstacles.  President Joe Biden had also previously promised to grant temporary protected status to Venezuelans and, in 2019, a bi-partisan bill was passed to grant TPS. However, with a GOP-controlled Senate, it could not move much further.

Trump’s last-minute move is anticipated to provide protection to as many as 200,000 Venezuelan citizens from being deported. Prior to this action, a bipartisan bill was passed to grant TPS, but it could not proceed under the GOP-controlled Senate. President Biden promised to grant TPS during his campaign, and it remains to be seen if he will change the new DED policy.

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