For the past several years, the Trump administration had expressed its intention to protect the Venezuelan people, but it had never been official. However, on January 19, 2021, just one day before president Joe Biden took office, President Donald Trump decided to defer the removal of Venezuelan citizens, who reside in the US without legal documentation, for 18 months. President Trump released a memorandum on the official White House website called “Memorandum on Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain Venezuelans,” which details eligibility requirements for Venezuelan citizens to request international protection through this relief program.
Additionally, this news is extremely positive for eligible Venezuelans as they can also request a work permit, known as EAD (Employment Authorization Document), which would allow them to work legally and access multiple social benefits such as obtain a driver’s license.
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Is this program different from TPS?
Yes, but they are very similar. The only difference between these two programs is that TPS beneficiary countries are chosen by DHS (Department of Homeland Security), while DED designated countries are chosen by the President of the US, who has the constitutional power and right to protect citizens of certain regions from forced removal.
Thus, President Trump used his right to grant DED to eligible Venezuelan citizens and protect them from deportation for 18 months, with the possibility of extension. It is important to clarify that DED has been used only five times since 1990, which means that the Trump administration, like many governments around the world, considers the current situation in Venezuela quite alarming.
How to apply for this benefit?
The steps to follow in order to apply for this relief program for Venezuelan citizens will be detailed once DHS publishes this rule in the Federal Register. Apart from that, the USCIS’ (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) official website will also have a section for Venezuelans covered and protected by this benefit.
We recommend for you to seek reliable legal help when submitting your documentation to avoid possible rejection by the USCIS. Adding to that, if you are eligible for this immigration benefit, you will also have the ability to apply for a work permit, which requires a different process. Schedule your consultation with Bartlett and Weigle today!
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