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New Immigration Benefits for Venezuelans in the United States: TPS and DED.

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New Immigration Benefits for Venezuelans in the United States: TPS and DED.

On his last day in office, former President Donald Trump issued a memorandum granting Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) to certain Venezuelans present in the United States. On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Let’s break these two new developments down.

Temporary Protected Status

TPS is exactly what the name entails: lawful, but temporary, immigration status in the United States. TPS does not in and of itself offer a pathway to permanent residency or U.S. citizenship. TPS is “designated” by USCIS for a specific period of time. If we look at TPS for other countries, we can see that it often, but not always, renews and thus gives holders the opportunity to apply to carry on in TPS.

TPS holders are entitled to a work permit. Through their work permit, they should receive a valid social security number. Because TPS holders are in lawful immigration status, they are not at risk of removal from the United States unless they are deportable for other reasons. Being in lawful immigration status stops the clock for individuals who were accruing unlawful presence. In some cases, a TPS holder who entered without permission may seek a temporary travel document allowing them to leave the United States for specific reasons, then return to the United States.

TPS is not automatically granted. Applicants must show they are entitled to the benefit. Venezuelans seeking TPS must show that they have continuously resided in the United States since March 8, 2021. Registration is open now and ends September 5, 2021. TPS is designated until September 9, 2022 for Venezuelans.

Deferred Enforcement Departure

Venezuelan DED, issued on Jan. 19, 2021, defers the removal of “any national of Venezuela, or [noncitizen] without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela,” as outlined in Trump’s memorandum. DED, like TPS, offers holders work permits, but does not offer actual lawful immigration status. DED simply “defers” the removal of its holders. USCIS has stated that the following classes of individuals, among others, are ineligible for DED: The DED covering Venezuela is valid until July 20, 2022, an eighteen-month period.

 1)    Those who have voluntarily returned to Venezuela or their country of last habitual residence outside the United States;

2)    Those who have not continuously resided in the United States since January 20, 2021;

3)    Individuals who are inadmissible under section 212(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) removable under section 237(a)(4), both involving terrorist and national security risk concerns.

4)    Individuals who have been convicted of any felony or 2 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States

5)    Individuals deported, excluded, or removed, prior to January 20, 2021;

6)    Individuals who are subject to extradition;

7)    Individuals whose presence in the United States the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined is not in the interest of the United States or presents a danger to public safety; or

8)    Individuals whose presence in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.

Which Is Better?

Here at Ibrahim Law Office, we feel that TPS is the better choice between it and DED. The programs are very similar. Both offer work permits, protections from deportation, and social security numbers. Both are temporary in nature and do not offer long-term immigration status. However, TPS offers actual immigration status, unlike DED. An Immigration Judge may close a deportation case if someone obtains TPS. TPS offers holders the opportunity to seek a travel permit to depart the United States for certain reasons and come back with permission. Finally, if President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 passes, TPS holders would have an automatic pathway to permanent residency.

If you have any questions about how this TPS or DED impacts Venezuelans in the United States, consult with someone from our team at Ibrahim Law Office.

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