Carlos Vecchio, Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, reported that they formally requested the United States administration to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans in the United States, as well as the automatic extension of work permits for both, TPS and Political Asylum applicants.
“We have made a formal request to the administration (of President Biden) so that the TPS that expires in September of this year can be extended and that it may be extended for another year and a half,” said Ambassador Vecchio during the virtual forum “Attention to migrants and Venezuelan refugees in host countries”, organized by the Office of the UN Commissioner, Miguel Pizarro.
The ambassador added: “Likewise, we ask that the validity of work permits be automatically extended and that these may also reach Venezuelans who have not yet received it, both for TPS applicants and for political asylum seekers. We also request that it be evaluated the exoneration of the fee. This is a central and key issue in supporting Venezuelan migrants and refugees who are going through their legal paperwork and urgently need to work.”
He highlighted and thanked the solidarity of the countries, presidents and NGOs that have given support to Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the midst of this crisis caused by Maduro’s dictatorship, especially the United States and its various agencies.
“The United States has been the country that has provided the most support and humanitarian aid to address the crisis of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, a gesture that we appreciate. This aid has been managed directly by the United States in third countries that they chose, where there are settlements of Venezuelans as well as with NGOs that work directly with the United States. The Interim Government has not handled any of these funds and that must be said.”
Venezuelan migrants require permanent support
Commissioner Pizarro pointed out that: “Venezuela has more than 7 million people in a state of need within the country and there are already more than 6 million migrants abroad, that amounts to more than half of the country. There are more than 13 million Venezuelans in need of protection. Venezuela needs international financial and humanitarian support. Our call to the international community is that this crisis does not become a forgotten crisis.”
Brian Fincheltub, Director of Consular affairs at the Venezuelan Embassy, made it clear that “Venezuela has not been fixed, things are worse,” contradicting the disinformation matrix that the regime seeks to impose.
He explained that during 2020 the number of Venezuelans who entered the U.S. through the border was less than 5,000 Venezuelan citizens and in 2021 there were just over 109,000 Venezuelans who crossed the southern border. “This is an increase of more than 2,000 percent in the number of Venezuelan migrants into the US alone. This shows the magnitude of the migration and refugee crisis that Venezuela is going through.”
Furthermore, Ambassador Vecchio emphasized that: “Venezuelans today are the largest migratory crisis in the hemisphere and it will become the largest in the world if Nicolás Maduro continues in power. The great reflection (we have to make) is the need to put an end to the political crisis, how to get rid of Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship, and how to put an end to the social and economic crisis. Putting more controls on Venezuelan migration only deepens the problem and we urge the international community to once again strengthen solidarity in this complex moment.”
Venezuelan officials highlight as positive that 1 year ago the administration of President Biden granted TPS to Venezuelan refugees. “Of 323,000 citizens eligible for the measure, 221,000 have already sent their TPS and the embassy has directly helped 80,000. We have created alliances with local governments, such as Miami-Dade County or Senator Marco Rubio’s office in Florida, which provide free legal advice to Venezuelan citizens,” said Mr. Fincheltub.
But the Venezuelan officials consider that it is necessary to improve the execution of the measure so that the beneficiaries enjoy the peace of mind that by acquiring their temporary protection status they are able to work and be productive within the United States.
“We have promoted many things: the extension of expired Venezuelan passports for up to 5 years, which was accepted by the U.S. and then other countries followed suit. We promote the TPS together with civil organizations, and we are grateful for this measure. We had the challenge of requesting that the application of Venezuelans who entered with a passport or previous residence of another nationality be accepted, that the registration period be extended so that more people could apply, among other things that benefit our Venezuelan brothers in the United States. We have achieved them all so far,” highlighted Vecchio. “Now we advocate for the extension of TPS and work permits for Venezuelan refugees,” he added.
Venezuelans in the US have consular services
Mr. Fincheltub recalled that the embassy, in addition to achieving the extension of expired Venezuelan passports for up to 5 years and the TPS, activated consular services such as the nationality certificate, which allows Venezuelan citizens to open bank accounts, obtain a driver’s license and/or a state ID; the driver’s license certificate; the emergency travel document; and the letter of no objection. These services can be requested by sending an email to [email protected]
He added that there are key services such as attention to detained citizens and attention to missing citizens. “The latter gives peace of mind to Venezuelan families. Every day we locate an average of 100 Venezuelan citizens, who after crossing the border spend between 7 and 15 days without communicating with their family and in this way we coordinate with CBP authorities and other agencies to verify that these persons are okay. The Venezuelan Embassy has located more than 23,000 Venezuelans in recent months.
[email protected] is the email to request this service from the embassy and more information can be obtained through the official website of the diplomatic mission www.us.embajadavenezuela.org.