Florida Republicans and others are pushing the Biden administration to implement a last-minute order from former President Trump blocking deportations of Venezuelans.
BY Rebecca Beitsch / The Hill
The order, signed by Trump on his last full day in office, defers deportation of some 145,000 Venezuelans for 18 months, blaming leader Nicolás Maduro for “the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere in recent memory.”
Even as Biden rushes to undo a number of Trump’s immigration policies, his Venezuela order remains in limbo.
The memo left the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for developing the guidelines of the program and ensuring work authorizations for those impacted by the order — something that has not yet happened under Biden.
“Many of our constituents are now awaiting guidance on the important particulars of their new … status, such as the documentation required, procedures that must be followed, and how to obtain work authorization,” lawmakers wrote in a letter to DHS spearheaded by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).
“Both the well-being of the American people and the perilous situation in Venezuela merits allowing Venezuelan nationals to remain in the United States.”
The letter was also signed by Florida GOP Reps. Carlos Gimenez, Maria Elvira Salazar and Michael Waltz along with Del. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico).
Under the Biden administration, the State Department continues to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president and Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to Maduro as a “brutal dictator.”
DHS did not respond to request for comment, but Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas previously dinged the Trump administration for failing to provide protections to Venezuelans in the U.S.
“By deporting Cubans seeking asylum in our country and refusing to grant protected status to Venezuelans in the U.S., he inflicts harm on the very people our humanitarian laws were designed to protect,” Mayorkas wrote in an op-ed in Univision in September, calling for the Trump administration to grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans.
“I have confidence in the dignity and humanity with which Joe Biden will apply our laws to Cuban and Venezuelan families in need of protection,” he wrote.