Temporary Protected Status extended for nearly 500,000 Venezuelan migrants
Thousands of asylum seekers will soon be able to get working permits, after the Biden administration extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 472,000 Venezuelan migrants who arrived in the country before July 31.
"With a job I'll be able to be independent because that's why I came here, to get a better future for my kids and for myself," said Frajelis Albarado, a mother of three who arrived in the U.S. from Venezuela in July.
Immigration advocates and several elected officials applauded the move.
"This is huge got the Venezuelan community because not only are they are able to remain safely in the U.S. but they'll be able to contribute to their communities and the economy," said Marlene Galaz, Director of Immigrant Rights policy at the New York Immigration Coalition. But the new changes are leaving many asylum seekers like Albarado confused on what to do next.
Many are turning to a weekly resource event in Bushwick organized by Fenix, Metro and ParCare, for free legal help.
"First of all, we explain to them what TPS is, what's their status, if they're eligible," said Levi Jurkowich, a community liaison for ParCare.
Since the announcement, they started helping eligible migrants fill out the 13-page application online and request a waiver for the $135 fees for application and biometrics. But what happens after they submit the application is still unclear.
"How long does it take to process the application, when can they start working? Those are the answers that we're waiting on the government to clarify," Jurkowich said.
Many migrants were disappointed to learn that the new changes don't apply to them. Advocates and the city are calling on the White House to extend TPS to nationals of other countries as well.
The city says that out of the 60,000 asylum seekers in their care, less than 10,000 are eligible for TPS under the new rule.
"A substantial number are still in our care today," Mayor Adams said on Thursday. The DHS says they'll be providing more information on eligibility criteria, timelines and procedures in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, the asylum seekers like Albarado say they will not waste any time and apply for TPS as soon as possible.