On Tuesday January 19, 2020, President Donald Trump announced he will offer Venezuelan exiles protection from deportation. President Trump considered doing so for years but refused to do so until his last full day in office, 16 hours before leaving office. He is doing this by implementing the “Deferred Enforced Departure program (DED)”. DED allows foreign nationals to be protected from deportation and have the opportunity to work. DED is granted through the President’s foreign relations power. In this case it was granted to protect Venezuelans from the Humanitarian Crisis brought on by their President Nicolas Maduro. Trump stated that “The deteriorative condition within Venezuela, which presents an ongoing national security threat to the safety and well-being of the American people, warrants the deferral of the removal of Venezuelan nationals who are present in the United States.” Offering DED to Venezuelan’s will protect 200,000 Venezuelan citizens residing in the United States from deportation.
The major question that has stemmed from President Donald Trump last executive action is why didn’t he grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans. Although similar in some ways the two programs do have some differences. TPS is granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to aid nationals of a country which temporarily need protection due to the fact that their native country is unsafe and unable to handle the return of these individuals. TPS doesn’t have a set period of time for the individuals to return to their native country, it states that they will return when the conditions are in a better state. DED differs since it can only be granted by the president and the temporary period is a set period of time, in this instance Venezuelans have been granted an 18 month stay. A major benefit to DED and TPS is that they both allow immigrants to apply for employment authorization.
Some have claimed that in this particular case TPS was not granted because most republicans have tried to steer away from TPSs because they don’t like the fact that may become a path to permanent residency in the United States under the Biden administration. The Trump administration has stated that ““temporary means temporary” — and that if a country’s current problems weren’t obviously connected to the original disaster that spurred a TPS designation, it didn’t deserve TPS anymore.
President Trump would like to have DED in place for 18 months and then have the conditions in Venezuela reevaluated. However, with the Biden administration being put in place it now their decision. Joe Biden had previously pledged to grant Venezuelans TPS. In 2019, the Democratic-led House passed a bipartisan bill to grant TPS to Venezuelans, but it was not passed.
Having DED granted to Venezuelans is a major sign of relief for the Venezuelan community in the United States! The next step for Venezuelan citizens in the United States is to wait for DHS to publish the rule in the Federal Register and for USCIS to post the instructions for applying and the eligibility requirements for DED and for the Employment Authorization granted with DED. It will also be interesting to see if at some point in the near future TPS will be granted to these individuals. Once the steps for applying are posted make sure to reach out to the Elizee Law Firm, we can help you navigate through the process!