Young Journalists Club | Latest news of Iran and world

News ID: 50937
Publish Date: 11:21 - 09 March 2021
The US President Joe Biden administration is granting temporary protected status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans living in the United States, as it considers its next steps to ramp up pressure on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

According to senior US officials, the Biden administration would allow the Venezuelans to apply for temporary protected status (TPS) starting on Monday.

The Venezuelans will be given an 18-month reprieve to stay and will also be allowed to work legally in the United States.

The decision was made because of the “extraordinary temporary conditions” in Venezuela, including “widespread hunger and malnutrition, growing presence and influence of non-state armed groups, a crumbling infrastructure,” one official claimed.

“It is not safe for them to return,” the official added.

An estimated 320,000 Venezuelans could be given the status.

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that Venezuela is “unable to protect its own citizens,” and that Washington “steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”

Biden had promised during the 2020 presidential election campaign to give shelter to Venezuelans who left their homeland due to economic and political turmoil.

The administration of former US president Donald Trump had resisted granting the status, but in his final days in office, he issued an order temporarily blocking deportations of Venezuelans.

The Trump administration imposed harsh economic sanctions on oil-rich Venezuela and confiscated its state oil assets based in the US, channeling the funds to opposition figure Juan Guaido in an effort to pressure Maduro to step down.

The measures have caused suffering for millions of people in the Latin American country.

According to the United Nations (UN) figures, up to 94 percent of Venezuela’s population lives in poverty, with millions of people bereft of regular access to water, food, and medicine.

Venezuela has also been grappling with a political crisis since January 2019, when Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of the country, arguing that Maduro’s reelection the previous year had been fraudulent.

Soon after, the Trump administration recognized him as the “legitimate” leader of Venezuela.

Biden also has reaffirmed Washington’s recognition of Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, ruling out negotiations with Maduro.

One of his administration officials also said late last month that Biden was in “no rush” to lift the sanctions on Venezuela.

US economic sanctions, according to experts, have cost Venezuela’s government as much as $31 billion since 2017

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