500,000 Venezuelans granted temporary legal status

The action, which will help the migrants flown to the Vineyard last year, allows for legal employment and safety from deportation.

The TPS extension affects nearly half a million Venezuelan refugees, including the 49 who has been sent to the Vineyard last year. — Abigail Rosen

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, including the dozens who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard last year by the order of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, can now shed the fear of sudden deportation from the U.S., thanks to an expansion of Homeland Security’s temporary protected status.

Due to “extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent individuals from safely returning,” the country has been redesignated for temporary protected status (TPS) for an additional 18 months, giving nearly 500,000 Venezuelan nationals residing in the U.S. protection from extradition, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced this week. 

Those eligible to apply for the protection, which extends to March 2024, are Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. before July 31 of this year.

This adds to the roughly 243,000 TPS beneficiaries under Venezuela’s existing designation, which was approved by the Biden administration in 2021. 

The latest temporary protection status extension also provides Venezuelan refugees the opportunity to support themselves financially.

Programs like TPS that allow people to apply immediately for work authorizations are “incredibly important,” Island attorney Rachel Self told The Times this week. “Not just for the applicants themselves, but for our communities and our economy.

“It means that new arrivals can immediately start contributing to their communities, supporting local businesses, paying tax revenue into our systems, moving to any place where they find opportunity, and earning their own way. They do not have to rely on charity, donations, or public services.”

“We are thrilled that many of the migrants who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard last September now have this path available to them, in addition to their other applications for relief,” Self said.

The influx of migrants from Venezuela stems from the nation’s current humanitarian crisis, which can be traced back through the country’s complicated political and socioeconomic history. With political tensions continuously rising and a Venezuelan currency in free fall, millions of people are leaving the country in search of a safer, more stable place to live. 

According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the world’s leading organizations devoted to helping those impacted by humanitarian crises, with increasing violence due to scarce resources, and lack of access to essential healthcare, those leaving Venezuela are migrating for their survival. 

According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, more than 7 million people have fled Venezuela since the death of President Hugo Chavez in 2013, and the subsequent election of his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Upon his 2018 re-election — after which his presidency was disputed — Maduro was widely criticized by many Venezuelans, along with countries around the world, for his strict socialist policies and their impact on the country’s economy. 

Political volatility greatly increased following Maduro’s re-election, triggering opposition leader Juan Guaidó to declare himself the president of Venezuela, in turn splitting the country’s people — and the world’s nations — into two camps.

As reported by BBC, the fight for power between Maduro and Guaidó, and loyal supporters on both sides, has created a rift all the way to the world’s stage. More than 50 countries, including the U.S., recognized Guaidó as the president of Venezuela; countries like Russia, China, and Turkey acknowledged Maduro’s claim. 

The presidential dispute remained unresolved until January of this year, though the impacts it had on Venezuela’s economy and ongoing humanitarian crisis continue.

With roughly 7.3 million people having fled Venezuela since 2014 — roughly 20 percent of the country’s population — it is the largest exodus in Latin America’s recent history. It’s also considered one of the largest displacement crises in the world as of February of this year, says the U.N. Refugee Agency. 

Per the Homeland Security Secretary’s Sept. 20 announcement, after review of conditions in Venezuela and consulting with interagency partners,  it was determined that an “18-month TPS extension and redesignation are warranted based on Venezuela’s increased instability and lack of safety due to the enduring humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions.”

Still, some lawmakers and advocates highlight that more needs to be done on a federal level. With the U.S.’s immigration system continuously backlogged, there’s “still work to do,” said attorney Self.

“It is extremely encouraging that the Biden administration is taking steps to ensure that people who are going to be here in our country for an extended period of time, progressing through often lengthy and byzantine legal processes, have the ability to support themselves,” Self said. “They are here legally, pursuing relief enshrined in our laws.

“Ensuring that migrants are able to work as soon as possible after arrival is incredibly important. It means that they are able to become productive members of our communities, which is best for everyone, and one of the foundational parts of the American dream.”

In a statement this week, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey echoed that sentiment, advocating for the expediting of work permits, and urging the Biden administration to provide additional federal funding to help with the influx of migrants to the commonwealth. 

The Federal Register is expected to release more information on the TPS program in the near future.


  1. ”Shed the fear of deportation” Why would the 50 who came here to the island have any fear if they were here legally as most of you have claimed? Ok I await the tortured rationale.

    • andy–they have that fear because radical xenophobes,
      such as yourself, (how ironic ) and pot smoking radical right
      wing nutcases in the house of representees would be willing to deport
      them for farting in a supermarket,and “offending a white woman”
      And really, are you going to claim that the governor of Florida,
      who spent nearly a million dollars of misappropriated federal funds
      was authorized to spend my hard earned tax dollars to pull this
      stunt off ?
      LOCK HIM UP.

      • Xenophobe Keller? I was in Iceland, Italy and Greece from August 25 to Sept 16 and they are awash with illegals and th crime that comes with it. They come with frozen values and dont adapt–many of them. All countries need to protect their borders with rules and regulations. Send 1000 Zulus to Marthas Vineyard and see what happens

        • What kinds of people should we let in?
          Escapees from Communism?
          People who accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior?
          Did insisting that 12. million “Zulus” immigrate Make America Great?

    • Apparently memory-holed: the role of the USA in destabilizing Maduro’s govt. by trying to impose an American proxy president on the country and then, after that effort bombed, punishing the country by imposing economic sanctions.

      “In August 2019, President Donald Trump imposed additional sanctions on Venezuela, ordering a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and barred transactions with US citizens and companies. . . .While the Biden Administration has maintained sanctions on the Maduro government and its enablers, in November 2022, the Treasury Department issued a license to allow U.S. oil company Chevron to resume some operations in Venezuela after Maduro returned to negotiations with the opposition.”

      Let’s see. The US uniparty destabilizes Venezuela politically and economically, and then demonizes Madura and his government’s “enablers” (presumably governments friendly to or at last not trying to bring down Venezuela’s legal government) for the economic problems and social unrest that ensue.

      Then the US welcomes—some suggest, invites—an army of dissatisfied Venezuelans to enter our country and gives them preferential treatment.
      This sounds like creating the problem you wish to “solve”—maybe to serve a longer-term agenda?
      What could that possibly be?

      By the way, sanctions on the “enablers” sounds a lot like secondary sanctions.

      As for 50 countries supporting Juan Guaido as president, there are 193 countries in the UN.
      As of January 2021, EU states (27 states) no longer recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president.

      • Katherine I was CEO of a multinational corporation in Venezuela from 1984 to 87 and had a guard with a shotgun in front of our house 24/7 and was driven to work a different way every day. The Lusinchi government was corrupt but was angelic compared to Chavez and Maduro. Your usual clear and cogent posts are missing in this one. Maduro has starved the population by an average of 21 lbs per person and 7 million have departed. His mess has very little to do with US sanctions and it is NOT a legal government. The abuse and crime and corruption is manifest. I am happy to blame the US on some things but not this one.

        • Andy, like América, Venezuela rejects being dominated by multinational corporations, and their stooges.
          One’s view of corruption is a function of their benefit.

        • Andrew, you have contributed a personal anecdote and personal opinion on Chavez and Maduro from your POV as a corporate CEO. This suggests to me that you are a Guaido supporter. Shame on you.

          Most observers found that Chavez vastly improved the living standards of Venezuelans by he distribution of oil profits to their communities. Many would also agree that Chavez (and Maduro) didn’t know how to run the economy.

          Social unrest and problems in Venezuela do not justify either attmepts by the USA to destabilize the county nor the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of mostly young military-age Ven. migrants to this country, in contravention of *our laws.* Who then are treated as in effect a separate bloc. I am quite surprised that you, as a corporate CEO, cannot see further down the road—for instance, at the energy needs of the USA—and see an obvious problem here.

          • Katherine, Multinationals invested in Venezuela and helped them find and refine oil, helped their steel industry and many other industries but instead the government nationalized the US oil companies and stopped repatriation of profits. The weakness of the currency against the US dollar significantly weakened American balance sheets and earnings statements due to devaluation. Companies were not allowed to raise prices to counter devaluation and in addition many CEO’s were arrested. To suggest that Heinz and Colgate Palmolive and a host of other multinationals in additional are crooks in foreign country investments is not useful. My company assisted Venezuela in their Petrochemical development by sending experts to help them improve and run their refineries. Maduro has starved them and stopped opposition. I ran companies in Singapore and Malaysia and Hong Kong and we had nothing of that and enjoyed great relationships wherein everyone benefitted. Venezuela is dark and they are “people of the lie”—-not all of them but many due to culture. Go to any Latin American country and you will find mismanagement and corruption.

          • Andrew, you said:
            “To suggest that Heinz and Colgate Palmolive and a host of other multinationals in additional ***are crooks*** in foreign country investments is not useful.”

            I did not suggest this.
            These are your words.

      • Going back further — we could also talk about the effect of NAFTA in the 1990s, which among other things forced cheap U.S. agricultural imports on Central American and Caribbean countries and forced many family farmers out of business. At some point I believe even Bill Clinton realized it was a mistake but by then it was too late.

    • Ok , andy–here is the “tortured rationale”.
      If trump gets elected, they will be immediately
      rounded up and deported. Perhaps summarily
      executed. Sure why not ? According to the
      trump loving xenophobes, they are drug smugglers
      who are killing our children with those drugs, murderers
      pedophiles, human traffickers, rapist and “animals”.
      We saw what happened when you know who came to
      power in the 1930’s after years of such rhetoric
      about the Jews.
      They certainly have much to fear. The U.S, formerly
      known as beacon of hope has descended into near
      anarchy by a significant minority of people who have
      been driven to the brink of insanity by the endless
      hateful rhetoric.
      But speaking of hate– Back to gov DeSanctimonious.
      Ok, let’s assume that i am wrong, and just because
      they have some papers issued by the federal government
      ( the only constitutionally mandated authority to issue
      such authorization) they are still “illegal”.
      Just because you have a few pieces of paper from that
      same agency, what makes your papers more important
      than the ones’ these people have ? Perhaps wealthy white
      male privilege ? Deny the validity of their papers, and I will
      deny the validity of yours. I have never seen your so-called
      papers after all.
      But back to DeSanctimonious again.
      let’s say you are correct and they are illegal.
      Your boy Ron is in serious trouble;
      “Domestic Transporting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii)
      makes it an offense for any person who — knowing or
      in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has
      come to, entered, or remains in the United States in
      violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to
      transport or move such alien within the United States
      by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance
      of such violation of law.”
      And his fellow conspiring thugs are in trouble also;
      “Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)
      expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy
      to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.
      OK– you convinced me– they are illegal.
      Can we lock DeSanctimonious up now ?
      Or do the laws only apply when you think
      they should ?

      • Keller I simply said why are they afraid if they are here legally and you blurt out an incompressible rant on anything but the subject. Biden/Fetterman 2024—-a no brainer.

        • andy– I think I pretty clearly explained why
          I think they could be afraid.
          I like your Biden/Fetterman prediction,
          speaking about anything but the subject.
          Yet another “no brainer” from you.
          Oh, by the way, have you noticed it is near
          the end of September, and the “lockdowns” have
          not begun ? In mid August you predicted
          lockdowns would be here by mid September.
          Do you remember that, or will you simply
          deny that you posted that and make me
          post it just to embarrass you ?– as if that’s
          Your star in the House of reps ( Lyi’n Hobert)
          denied everything about what she was doing
          at that play in Co. until they posted the video.
          After that, she at least apologized.

          • I did not say lockdowns Keller, i said there will be heightened awareness of Covid3 and there is. When will you admit that Sleepy Joe should step down or do you want him as a ”weekend at Bernie’s” just to keep Trump out?

        • Andy, what are your concerns about Fetterman?
          He doesn’t dye his hair blond?
          He does not have a hair stylist on staff?
          He has had a stroke?
          He doesn’t have a thousand thousand dollar blue suits?
          He has no indictments?
          He did not go to good schools?
          He comes from humble beginnings?
          He is a man of the people.
          He has never been a CEO of a multinational, like yourself?

        • Andy–
          andrew engelman August 22, 2023 At 12:11 pm
          “New lockdown regulations coming Mid-September
          from Biden due to EG-5 virus. We will see it first
          at airports. Biden loves this stuff.”
          Some people here have said that I lack
          comprehensive reading skills, but that second
          word up there sure does look like the word in question.
          So it makes me wonder, Andy, do you
          just lie about this kind of stuff because lying
          seems to be socially acceptable for you and your
          ilk ? Or do really believe that you didn’t write that
          comment on August 21 st, and there is some
          sort of “deep media” thing going on here between
          the editors of this paper and myself ?
          You know, it is possible that I went down there
          today, hacked into their system and changed the
          comments just to embarrass you — as if it’s
          possible to embarrass you.
          Or more likely, you have no idea about what you
          say, take no responsibility for your rhetoric
          and could care less about any actual facts
          related to anything.
          You know,andy, I have really backed off , at the
          editors request, to tone my direct confrontations
          with you down. But, what can I say– you basically
          implied that I was not telling the truth, and then
          blurted out an incompressible rant on anything
          but the subject.
          I have to call you on your lies, andy.
          You can keep lying, and I will continue to call you
          out on them .

          • Keller I did not say lockdowns, I said lockdown regulations and the new WH Preparedness Plan shows that as do some State Plans. I am sometimes wrong but I do not lie.

        • andy– “lockdown regulations”
          Never mind — that’s different”
          –Roseanne Roseannadanna
          So what exactly is a lockdown
          “regulation” ? It’s not a lockdown,
          if it’s just a “regulation” but has no
          enforcement or meaning. But I guess
          it could have some propaganda value.
          Like the Biden administration is
          coming after your appliances because
          of “regulations” So your fear of regulations
          is not grounded in any reality that any of
          those regulations will actually happen, right?
          Could I ask that you be bothered to actually
          show us ANYTHING about these so called
          regulations ?
          And by the way, while you are documenting
          the things you said, could you show me where
          you said the part about
          “heightened awareness of Covid3 ”
          I can’t seem to find that one.

          You do know that the number after “COVID”
          is the designation of the year in which it emerged.
          Are you predicting a new COVID outbreak in 2103 ?

          and just to throw in an “andy kind of comment”;
          When will you admit that trump is a fraudulent
          crook, traitor, philandering pathologically lying
          narcissistic, misogynistic racist ?
          Who by the way, thinks Jeb Bush invaded Iraq.

    • They were here legally. They presented themselves at border and asked for asylum. That’s a 100% legal right. You’re incorrect as usual.

  2. The Times have sadly begun to quickly look like our other island newspaper since the turn over started. ;+(
    I miss our last MVTs crew, George, Rich and their reporters.
    Im old enough to remember when the island was mostly RED!

    “Lawmakers try solving municipal housing shortages”
    “Biden administration grants Venezuelans protected status”

    • Woody you must be new here. The Island has never been Red!
      People tend to become Conservative as they age.
      Were you a True Conservative at 20?

        • Katherine:
          More Island than thou?
          First son native bred and born Islander.
          Second son native bred and born Dukes County.
          And you?
          More Island than thou?

          • Thanks for the info.
            Explains why you don’t know that the Island was solid Republican in the 1950s. Certainly in national elections.

            It is hard to find details on state and local elections without a trip to the library, but I think they were also solid Republican.

            Although Kennedy won 60% of the vote in Mass. in 1960—not a “landslide” IMO—establishing how he did on the Island would also require a trip to the library.

            Of course, the red/blue color designations are totally anachronistic.

          • Katherine, in the 1950’s the country was solid Republican.

            “a landslide would occur when the winning candidate in a two-way election receives 58% of the vote, leaving his opponent with 42%”

            How important is how the Island voted sixty years ago, almost of those voters are dead.
            Did you grace the Island with your presence in the 1950’s
            More Island than thou?

        • Thanks don, actually, I was conservitive (Rep.) growing up in Edgartown long before I joined the U.S.M.C. right after graduating from MVRHS, then went to Vietnam and stayed a conservative (Rep) until Obama was `reelected`.
          The next morning I went to Town Hall and immedietly changed to “Unenrolled”.

          • “conservitive”?
            The people of Vietnam are eternally grateful to you for helping them throw off the the yoke of foreign domination.
            Obama was reelected with landslide in Electoral College votes.
            Why did you choose to unenroll from the Conservative Republican Party?

  3. Think of a time when you were in a strange situation…..Yes, you’ve got your transportation ticket, photo ID, and so on, but you’re in a place you’ve never been before….Don’t you feel a little apprehensive? Aren’t you a bit concerned that the local police might react differently towards you due to the color of your skin or you’re accent when asking for directions? I’m a well traveled “world traveler” and I know I feel that way sometimes, so why wouldn’t the Venezuelans feel the same way, especially when they’ve met up with so many disingenuous people before coming to the Island?

  4. Coming here legally by doesn’t mean they get to stay. There is a process that involves a scheduled court hearing to evaluate whether their individual asylum claims are meritorious. (I hope you don’t find that rationale too tortured.)

  5. Imagine if we could make electricity from all the energy wasted constantly writing long winded, vitriolic letters that pander only to those within the writer’s bubble and contribute nothing to the betterment of society.

  6. The US is spending BILLIONS to enforce the border in Ukraine but ignoring this issue right here in America. This administration has got to get its priorities right.

    • Peter– “enforce the border in Ukraine” ?
      Really? Is that what you think ?
      U.S immigration officials are keeping
      Russians from crossing the border
      into Ukraine ?
      Put the Kool aid down……

      • I don’t know how to reply to you Don. You aren’t listening to reason…and the facts. I agree with our Ukrainian policy to enforce the border in Ukraine and push the Russians back over it. I don’t understand the Biden Administration refusing to enforce our border, making all 50 states border states and creating anarchy at the border and in our cities. It’s madness.

        • Peter– Read Katherine Scotts’ comment above,
          She is spot on that the United States is partially
          responsible for the conditions in Venezuela.
          The number of desperate people arriving at our
          border is not the fault of any administration.
          People will do what they need to do to survive.
          If that means walking thousands of miles
          through dangerous south American countries
          and jungles, or crossing the Mediterranean
          in overloaded unsafe boats, they will do it.
          Will you say that the leaders of “border countries”
          in Europe should be impeached because millions of
          desperate people arrive on their shores while escaping
          murderous regimes and deplorable economical conditions
          in the countries they were born into?
          Let me tell you,Peter, the reality is that the exploitive
          policies of “developed countries” are coming
          back to bite us in the ass. We have gotten wealthy
          by stealing their resources, keeping them oppressed
          and ignoring the consequences or our actions.
          We have even touted our “Christian values” and
          encouraged them to have as many children as possible.
          FSM forbid, that any woman in a third world country
          should be able to have access to birth control.

          46 % of the population of Yemen is under the
          age of 15. 29 % for Venezuela 18 % for U.S
          What do you expect these hungry young
          people to do ?
          As the effects of climate change become
          more severe, we can expect an ever increasing
          number of refugees to come to the land of
          What do you suggest we do with the
          tired, the poor, the huddled masses
          yearning to breathe free,
          The wretched refuse of their teeming shore.
          The homeless, tempest-tost ?
          I suggest we lift our lamp beside the golden door.
          Do you think we should just mow them down ?
          Let’s be real– Quit whining about Biden.
          Offer a solution that doesn’t involve mass murder.
          Or being complicit with mass starvation.

          • No country can long survive if it cannot protect its borders and its sovereignty. By your logic, we “owe” the Third World US citizenship. Open Borders equals national suicide. Thank goodness you are not in charge of our border policy, tho I can’t see anyone doing anything in this administration. My solution, as stated before, is to close the border for 3 months until we get control of it. Bring in the military. Pressure the Mexican government. Fight the Mexican Drug Cartels with have rendered Mexico a failing state. (Funny, you never mention the other issues linked to our broken Southern Border: human smuggling, drugs, fentanyl, prostitution, terrorists and criminals etc. We can’t even predict the effects of this crisis but I guarantee you it won’t be good.)

    • This administration has it’s priorities right, defeating Russian Communism!
      Embracing escapees from Communist Venezuela.

    • Source? If they came over illegally how were they counted? Should Biden be impeached for letting them in? How many illegals did Trump let in? Should Trump be impeached?

      • These figures are coming in from the DHS and Border Patrol. Daily numbers were averaging around 8000. Last week we hit 10,000. Now we have hit 11,000 with no end is sight. Even Dems are starting to panic. This was all predictable the day Biden took office. And yes, Biden and Mayorkis and our Border Czar Kamala Harris should be impeached.

        • Not to belabor the point, the actual DHS or Border website with daily numbers?
          Biden should be impeached for letting in illegals?
          How many illegals did Trump let in?
          Should Trump be impeached too?

        • What, exactly, are the grounds for impeachment? Can Hunter Biden get thrown in there, too? Impeachment, no matter the cavalier reaction from the last president, is a serious move. Let’s stop jumping to impeachment as the cure for all that the right wing finds wrong with their lives. We are a big, so far democratic country. Let’s collectively pull up our socks and act like it.

          • The country is being invaded by foreign nationals. Our president took an oath to protect the citizens. Clearly he’s failed here (as has Mayorkis and Harris…and Congress). Therefore, president must be held accountable. (IMHO, this disaster is far worse than anything Trump did to get impeached.)

          • “What, exactly, are the grounds for impeachment?

            That’s too easy.

            Answer: Corruption of Biden Crime Family—Joe, Jim, and Hunter; compromise of national security by means of both self-acknowledged (through bragging) influence peddling and bribery and failure to secure the southern border against a dangerous ongoing surge of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants into this country.

        • This is totally insane.
          Biden and Harris have betrayed the country.
          That Mayorkas is the head of the Dept. of Homeland Security is a very bad joke.
          Rep. Vicky Sparz of Indiana let him have it.
          “On A Scale Of 1 To 10, How Would You Rate Yourself?’: Victoria Spartz Explodes At Mayorkas”

          • Speaking of insanity please don’t forget who appointed General Mark Milley.
            Who encouraged his armed followers to hang Mike Pence.

      • 9,000 illegals intercepted in last 24 hours. Question for you and Don: how many is ok with you? 10,000 per day? 15 000? More? (A recent study published by Syracuse University reports that 1.3 + million illegals crossed into the US through August.) Google Eagle Pass Texas. Maybe DHS should bus a couple thousand illegals to MV to help Boston and NYC? How many can I put you down for?

        • Ok Peter less than 1% of our population.
          per year .
          Not enough to offset our low birth rate. (1.6)
          We have nearly 50,000 people die
          from guns, 50,00 from suicide
          40,000 from auto accidents
          100,000 from drug overdoses, per year.
          That’s a quarter million a year.
          Got any ideas about how to replace them
          in the workforce ?
          There is a seemingly unwillingness for young
          American women to spend their lives being pregnant.
          So what do we do ?
          Well, I’ll tell you– we get off of the xenophobic
          hate train, and we welcome hard working honest
          people who will contribute to the prosperity
          of our country. What is so hard about that ?
          The only thing standing in our way is
          ignorant xenophobic attitudes of the likes
          of those people who put those Nazi inspired
          white supremacist posters up in O.B recently.

  7. Following events closely as I do, it is clear that Americans ate very concerned about our immigration crisis. Polls show that even democrats are worried. (Polls also show the majority of Americans don’t approve of the job Biden is doing. MV commenters clearly lean Left and do not represent the majority of voters over on the mainland. ) Biden doing so poorly that Trump could win. He’s not my candidate but it shows how angry Americans are at this point.

    • I do not approve of the job Biden is doing.
      I do approve of the job Biden did dumping Trump.
      Politics is about the lesser of evils.

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