The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, on Aug. 3, published a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) order giving Venezuelans in the United States an 18-month extension allowing them to remain in the country legally. This time frame allows and encourages millions of Venezuelans currently in South America to come to the United States and apply for TPS.

“Through this notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is announcing extensions of the initial registration periods from 180 days to 18 months for initial (new) applicants under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for Venezuela, Syria, and Burma,” reads an official summary of the DHS statement.

There are some 6 million Venezuelans who are currently in exile in different parts of South and Central America. The TPS extension gives them motivation and time to enter the United States and apply for the protected status to stay and work legally in the United States.

Rob Law, a former top U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency official, said according to Breitbart, that most of the migrants arriving at the border after this week would receive TPS because Mayorkas and his aides will pressure agency officials to approve the applications.

Mayorkas’ decision came just a week after more than 100,000 Haitian migrants were granted protected status outside the pre-established limit. The vast majority of the beneficiaries were illegal migrants who had recently entered the U.S. southern border.

Law was highly critical of the Biden administration and especially of immigration policy officials, whom he accused of using TPS as a “political weapon” as they found it difficult to implement their real plan—a general amnesty for immigrants through legislation passed by Congress. 

The TPS program was initially created to house foreigners temporarily in the United States who cannot return home safely because their home country suffered a catastrophe, such as a war or natural disaster.

But now, TPS is being used by the government as a legal tool that allows them to generate a sort of blanket amnesty for immigrants without having to face a fierce argument in Congress that could result in a negative image of their liberal policies. 

According to DHS reports, some 17,000 Venezuelans have already crossed the southern border illegally since the beginning of the year to obtain the protected status granted by the United States. The startling increase has generated comparisons to the mid-century influx of Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist regime. 

The discussion about Venezuelans entering the United States takes place in a complex context where half of Latin America’s poor come from Venezuela. Out of 18.5 million people living in poverty, the socialist nation contributes some 9.3 million.

As if this were not enough, all economic indicators indicate that the situation will worsen in the coming months. 

The United Nations identified this deplorable reality in February and ranked Venezuela as fourth among nations with the worst food crisis in the world. The first country on that list was Yemen; the second was the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the third was Afghanistan. These three countries are experiencing civil wars and conflicts. In fifth place, after Venezuela, is Ethiopia.

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