New status paves way for Venezuelan migrants to work; about a dozen families in Monroe County affected

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The Biden administration is granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in the United States. The goal is to quickly get them working.

This move affects about a dozen Venezuelan families in Monroe County.

In New York, Venezuelans make up over 40% of the migrant population. The Biden administration re-designated Venezuela for what’s called “temporary protected status,” also known as TP. This will allow easier access to work permits for Venezuelans seeking asylum in the U.S.

It does not apply to people who cross the border illegally, who must wait six months to receive work permits.

Why is it specific for Venezuelans?

The Homeland Security secretary says Venezuela’s instability has been increasing, as the country deals with political and economic crises.

Rep. Joe Morelle says any asylum seeker — whether from Venezuela, Haiti or anywhere else — should be assisted in finding work immediately The quicker they get to work, he says, the quicker they pay taxes and contribute to society.

In fact, he says most of them want to work — they’re fleeing some of the most dire living conditions.

“Whether it’s political persecution, whether it’s because climate crisis has made it impossible for you to do agriculture in your community, whether it’s a breakdown of political society like we’ve seen in Haiti and Venezuela and others, but if you’re going to come here, and seek asylum, why wouldn’t we require you to work, literally as soon as you’re able-bodied?” said Morelle, a Democrat who represents the 25th District.

What kind of work is out there for asylees? Morelle says there’s plenty of need in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, hospitality and healthcare.

Those who are eligible for the protection must apply to get it. Venezuelans who arrived after July 31 of this year will not be eligible.