NEW YORK - The Biden administration says it’s granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are already in the country — quickly making them eligible to work — as it grapples with growing numbers of people fleeing the South American country and elsewhere to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The protections for Venezuelans are significant because they account for such many of the migrants who have been arriving in the country in recent years.
Sara Munoz, her boyfriend and their daughter have lived the last year in uncertainty, and in fear of deportation.
"The situation in Venezuela is not good," Munoz said.
Like countless others, they risked their lives, and moved through several countries. The journey from Venezuela, she says, included
Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Their goal was the US - Mexico border where they crossed into the United States illegally and asked for asylum.
"Horrible," she said when asked to describe the journey. She says it took a physical and emotional toll but for her family it was worth it because she explains it as a chance at a better life free from economic and political oppression.
They are now three of the more than 100 - thousand migrants who have come to New York City since last year - living in emergency housing and without work
Now a temporary adjustment from the federal government is a lifeline for them and other Venezuelans who hope to one day find a path citizenship.
" Thanks to God and thanks to President Biden," she said when asked how she feels about the Biden administration’s decision to grant Temporary Protected Status or TPS to all Venezuelans.
The Biden administration just announced the decision due to humanitarian issues , political unrest, and other issues in that country.
TPS allows migrants to temporarily live and work in the US putting their immigration case or possible deportation on pause.
Venezuelans who arrive in the U.S. after July 31 of this year will not be eligible for the protection. Those who are now eligible have to apply to get it.
Associated Press contributed to this report.